Plant Purple Sprouting Broccoli for Spring…

You can plant out Purple Sprouting Broccoli plug plants over the next few weeks and, all going well, they will provide you with a wonderful crop in spring.

Where to plant broccoli

Plant them in a raised bed in a place where they will get plenty of sunlight during the winter months, about 40cm apart. You can also grow them in pots, but choose a large, sturdy container for each plant. If you have space, they’d do well growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel.

Planting tips

It’s best to add plenty of compost when planting, and add a handful of wormcast fertiliser, as they will do well in fertile soil, especially at this time of year. Firm them in well as this’ll help them to establish a good root system to hold against strong winds.

Try to plant them before late October, and cover them with mesh net to keep pigeons and the last of the cabbage white butterflies away. The net will need to be approximately 1.5m high once the plants are mature, but you can get away with draping it over the young plants for the first month or so while they are still quite small.

Ongoing care

Protect the broccoli plants from slugs, make sure they’re well watered in the early days, and then you can more or less leave them to their own devices until April/May. If growing in pots, make sure they don’t become waterlogged, and if growing undercover, you may need to water them once a week. If they are growing outdoors, you may need to stake them against strong winds once they reach 70cm or so tall.

Harvesting broccoli

You should be able to harvest from them for several weeks once they get going, usually in April/May, which is a lovely time of year to be harvesting broccoli when there is little else coming out of the garden.