When Will Broccoli Plants Start Sprouting?

If you planted purple sprouting broccoli in late summer/early autumn, then the plants should be a fairly good size by now, perhaps reaching a couple of foot tall. It’s not quite time for them to start sprouting, but keep an eye on them over the next few weeks as they should begin soon. Our variety is ‘Early’, and this tends to start cropping in March and usually will continue until May.

Once the leader spear of broccoli has grown you can harvest it. After that, all the other sprouts will start appearing in quick succession. So, don’t panic if it looks like it’s only growing one lonely little broccoli spear to being with!

To harvest broccoli, it’s best to use a pair of secateurs or a sharp knife to cut off the broccoli spears while they are still quite firm, before they loosen and open into flower. You should get a good harvest for several weeks.

Top tip – if you have had problems with caterpillars, and you’re worried a few may be hiding in the florets you can soak them in a bowl of warm water with a splash of white vinegar for 5-10 minutes before cooking. Any caterpillars hiding in the broccoli will float to the surface and you can cook your broccoli in confidence, and no, it won’t make your broccoli taste horribly vinegary! That said, it shouldn’t be a problem for broccoli harvested at this time of year, although with the inconsistencies in the climate these days, anything can happen and being vigilant is a good idea!