The Cottage Smallholder

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Harvesting the purple sprouting broccoli 2010


Photo: Home grown purple sprouting broccoli

Photo: Home grown purple sprouting broccoli

Our farming friends dropped by for afternoon tea on Sunday. They are easy and relaxed and their little girl A is divine. She gave our biscuits the thumbs up – the past selection weren’t up to much and we found little pieces of half eaten biscuit hidden in the kitchen for several days after her last visit. Our kitchen is a messy, lived in room so the biscuits provided a great diversion for the dogs.

I had fallen asleep after a late brunch on Sunday and woke with just time enough to fly into Newmarket to buy the biscuits. Yes I know that I should make my own but if I started that I’d be making cookies every day with disastrous waist enhancing consequences.

K and JP brought us vegetable presents. Danny tottered into the cottage with a vast sack of potatoes and JP hauled in a string sack of onions. JP’s onions keep so much better than the supermarket ones and a lot are dried in the dehydrator for use throughout the year.

We all inspected the newly dug herbaceous borders and the veg patch. JP is a farmer so is great to turn to for advice. As we passed the rows of purple sprouting broccoli we noticed that I could start harvesting it. JP mimed snapping the heads off to encourage the side shoots. Up until now I have harvested the broccoli when the plants look ready – now I realise that this was a haphazard and a rather stupid system. This is one of those vegetables that the more you pick the more you get.

After we waved our friends goodbye, I grabbed a colander and went down to the purple sprouting broccoli patch and snapped the heads off every plant even the ones with no side shoots. These were delicious with roast chicken with a Shitake and cream sauce – yes Danny wanted to try it one more time just to make sure that the quantity of ingrediebts was correct. 
In a couple of days I will start selling PSB on the gate side stand. Fingers crossed that our passers by will like this vegetable as much as we do.  We have over 40 plants and even we can’t eat that much PSB.

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  1. mr.j.andrews

    my PSB has at last matured but it is very spindly about two foot long and running along the ground should I cut the top off too stop it or let it go???? thankyou j.andrews

  2. Frances

    We have just started harvesting our PSB, which survived the Derbyshire snow much to our surprise. Equally to our surprise, the brussels sprouts did not survive the snow. The PSB is our first harvest for 2010, excepting the mustard, cress and micro salads growing on the kitchen window sill. It is extremely tasty.

    PS. Glad to hear your good health news

  3. Margaret Thorson

    We love our PSB and kale buds this time of year and they are big sellers at our Farmers Market.

  4. You inspired me to venture down the garden and check out the PSB plants I thought were killed by weeks of snow. What a result .. just had a thai green curry with my own PSB in it. Scrumptious.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joy

    I was out early harvesting it! We don’t have masses to sell but it’s fun now we have vegetables, preserves and flowers.

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Well my white SP isn’t looking great this year (it went in too late). Give me a buzz if you’re dropping by just incase we’ve sold out 🙂

    Hello Catrin

    Oh what a shame! Two or three of our plants keeled over but the rest survived.

    Hi Jude

    Start by picking the big purple head at the top. This will encourage the side shoots to develop. I harvest these when they reach 5 cm.

  6. I have managed to get a bit of PSB this year, but how do you know when to pick it?

  7. I’m very envious! Everyone I’ve spoken to here in the North East lost their psb plants in the heavy snow we had in December/January – freezing weather followed by three weeks of snow cover – and the two plants I smugly thought were broccoli suddenly turned into spring cabbages overnight.

  8. Magic Cochin

    I’ll be making a detour to check out PSB stocks… having failed once again to produce a crop of my own! (the shame of it, as I was reared on a diet of my Dad’s home grown PSB)


  9. Wish I lived close by. I’d be there, buying it up like a shot!!

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