How to grow purple sprouting broccoli

I couldn't find much information online about growing purple sprouting broccoli. So I thought I'd take the time to share my take on this wonderful vegetable and possibly offer some helpful insight as well.

As such a tasty and vibrant looking plant. With it being so easily grow-a-ble in any back garden or allotment. It's curious why other people aren't getting the most out of there plot by planting purple sprouting broccoli.

This strain of broccoli, along with the ordinary type of broccoli. Is also a member of the cabbage family. As well as being a distant relative to the cauliflower family.

The best thing about purple sprouting broccoli in comparison to regular calabrese broccoli is the fact that you can achieve multiple harvests from one single plant. With the calabrese (The traditional broccoli you buy the in supermarket) you only get one single crop per plant.

You will need around 2-3 plants per person in any household. This may seem a bit much. But with a steady supply of tasty shoots, any regret is very unlikely.

The way I like to grow broccoli is to start them off in small pots until they're around 4-6 inches high. Once they have there true leaves (You will easily notice there big fan leaves from there seedling leaves) Then I will plant them outside in my preferred spot. Giving them amount 1 foot squared of space for each plant. Another thing to add is these plants can grow up to around 4 feet tall and will cast a shadow on other surrounding plants.

Prior to planting outdoors you may wants to spread some fertilizer like blood fish and bone around your chosen area and dig it over.

If you live in a climate with tough weather conditions you may want to protect the young plants for a few weeks. A clothe will do or simply wrap some clingfilm around a cylinder made out of chicken wire.

Once the plants are fully established. All that's really left to do is to give them with a good supply of nutrients. I personally just put some well composted stuff around the base of the plants and water regularly with compost tea.

Broccoli is a fairly hardy plant. It is pretty resistant to most harsh conditions. So you need not worry too much about it.

Then... Finally... The best bit! Harvesting!

Purple sprouting broccoli is very easy to harvest. As soon as you start seeing small shoots with those distinct purple heads, you know it's time to start harvesting. Be sure to harvest your broccoli regularly before the shoots get to thin and scrawny or before they flower (Read more on that below). It's easy to actually harvest the shoots. Just cut them at there stems with the desired length. Remember you can eat the stems. And That's it! Just boil, steam or stir fry until the stems are fairly soft and enjoy your lovely homegrown purple sprouting broccoli!

Things to remember 


  • Butterfly eggs! White butterflies will lay there eggs on the underside of the leaves. Be sure to check your plants regularly. A single butterfly can lay as many as 50 eggs. The damage that even 20 caterpillars can do to a single broccoli plant is tremendous! 
  • Slugs! Be on the look out for slugs regularly! Slugs love the leaves of broccoli. If you have a really bad slug problem just go out late at night with a torch and pick off the slugs. You'll be amazed at how many you will find.
  • Never let your broccoli flower! as soon you start seeing yellow flowers appear on your broccoli, cut the stalks down on that particular stem immediately! If you allow your broccoli to go into full flower it will stop producing shoots!  
  • High winds! Broccoli only have very shallow roots. It won't be surprising when you wake up one morning only to see that your purple sprouting broccoli has been completely blown over! This doesn't harm the plant to much though. As long as you get it upright once again. I use bamboo shoots to prop them up when this starts to happen.
  • Water well. Especially when there is a drought.
  • Eat the leaves! As broccoli is a member of the cabbage family it's leaves at edible too! You can also eat the stems (I like to stir fry them). If you think about it. You can get 3 crops out of one single plant!