Friday, August 26, 2011

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

I first read about purple sprouting broccoli a few years ago while pursuing through several gardening blogs from Great Britain. At the time, I wondered why it wasn't grown more widely here in the US. Then I learned that the plant doesn't produce its beautiful purple florets until the following spring - obviously too long of a time and space commitment if you're a commercial farmer.

Not knowing too much about growing this variety, I planted three specimens this past spring and they have since grown into HUGE monsters despite being set back severally from several major groundhog attacks. The largest plant is over five feet tall now. The beautiful slightly ruffled leaves have also withstood the summer heat effortlessly while our more conventional variety turned limp and yellow.

My biggest concerns now are that I started these plants too early and that they won't survive our typical New England winter. Also, it's going to be tricky trying to protect plants this size with fabric row cover and plastic in the coming months.

In any case, I decided to hedge my bets and started three more plants in late June. They are of a much more reasonable size right now and I have a feeling that they will have a better chance of overwintering.

If anyone has had success growing this variety in our Zone 6 climate, any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  1. I don't have any advice about the broccoli BUT did you know that peppers are perennial? You can keep growing them over the winter. So our plan is to take the one pepper we grew in a pot and overwinter it in the basement. I may even try to wrap the peppers in the garden bed to protect them, we'll see. Apparently peppers grow into bushes.

  2. Lol, Thomas. Looking forward to seeing if the monster broccoli trees produce masses of sprouts in spring, or if it's the tortoise plants that are better at surviving the winter. you'll have your own Enchanted Broccoli Forest!

  3. Really so very nice garden. In the garden has been good arrangement and also surrounding the ever green nature. That can be enjoy in that place.

  4. That is a sturdy looking plant! Too bad they were not growing where the hoop house is located that would have been the ideal way to protect them through the winter. I am wondering how I can give my 8 foot tall tree kale/collard plant some protection this winter. LOL!

  5. That's a really interesting plant. I don't suppose it's one of those perreneials that you cut down and then it re-grows from the roots? That sure would make things easier. In any case, I look forward to seeing how you do. It would be great to grow a broccoli that can withstand the heat. Almost all of my garden bit the dust because of the heat.
    Also, I had no idea that peppers were perrenial.

  6. Purple heads? How cool! It's always fun to grow a new variety. Wow are they tall!

  7. Suburbanrancher - now you have me thinking. It would definitely be an interesting experiment to do. However, I'm really cautious now about being plants into the house from the garden as the last time I did it, I exposed my spring seedlings to some aphids.