THE FORECAST is good for today, rainy for tomorrow and Monday so, now that May with
it’s occasional overnight frosts is drawing to an end, it’s an ideal time to clear
the brassica bed and plant out our remaining bean and courgette plants.
I constructed this D-shaped raised bed in spring last year in a spot where we’d had
some shrubs growing. By the time I’d finished the season was well underway so to
fill the space we bought a tray each of seedlings of purple sprouting broccoli -
Claret, an F1 hybrid - and Brussels sprouts. It seemed a long wait to get anything
from the broccoli as the harvest period is March to June.
As you can see, the remaining spears have now all flowered.
At that time we had a wild rabbit at large in the garden and, in a hasty measure
to cover the crop, I threw netting over the bed. That’s why the plants sprawled over
the bed and across the path.
It was great, at a time of year when other vegetables are in short supply, to go
down the garden and get fresh spears of broccoli. They worked well in stir-fries
or steamed. Even towards the end, when the budding flower-heads weren’t as compact
as they had been, they made excellent soup.
Our previous attempt at growing broccoli had been with the green sprouting variety.
This must have been in the summer season because when we harvested the heads we found
lots of cabbage white caterpillars hiding amongst the flower-buds. By growing this
purple sprouting variety which is harvested earlier we avoided the attentions of
the cabbage white butterfly.