Author Topic: Purple sprouting leaves  (Read 539 times)

Paulines7

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Purple sprouting leaves
« on: June 02, 2017, 07:29:35 »
Could I have your advice please?  I bought some purple sprouting plants last September and kept them in the greenhouse over winter.  At the end of March, I planted them into a raised bed around which I attached butterfly netting.  They are now 2 to 3 ft high and look so healthy with no signs of caterpillars.  I may have planted them too close together though as I seem to have all leaves and no sprouting heads.  Should I take off some of the leaves and cook them, and if so, will they taste like normal cabbage leaves or are they bitter to eat?  I am amazed just how much they have grown in about 10 weeks, probably because the netting has protected them from the weather as well as the butterflies.

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2017, 19:31:06 »
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/broccoli
This is concise advice from the RHS.
Personally I would have planted out when the plants were ready*, probably earlier ,August when first main crop spuds cleared.This enables the plants to establish and grow before slowing down as the season cools. Being well netted both from butterflies and later from ravernous woodies, I would expect them to be re-firmed as soon as frozen ground thaws(not last year!) and top dressed with a little encouragement(Vitax v4) in Feb. As Spring develops, they return to growth and typically produce the first sprouting mid-late march, growing out and flowering yellow in april. Cleared and replaced by the following rotation crop. Unless you fancy them now, compost and sow seed in June for next year. Plant on another piece of ground.
* Recommend growing all your own brassicaes, nasties such as club root come from imports! Know your friends!!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 19:37:26 by ancellsfarmer »
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Beersmith

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2017, 19:41:52 »
Young tender growth from almost all members of the brassica family is usually delicious, so if it was me I'd be perfectly happy to take a harvest of young tops. Why not try a small test gathering.

But you describe plants that are healthy and growing well, so the puzzle is will they sprout and produce the intended crop as summer progresses.  You would not want to remove too much growth now and risk losing a later harvest.

For purple sprouter they do seem very late though. For example, the purple sprouter I plan to harvest next spring are currently about 8 inches high and I'd hope to see them up to at least  2 feet 6 inches by the autumn before slowing over winter and wakening up late February / early March next year.  It seems unlikely yours would go through another full winter before producing any sprouts. My guess is you'll get a super crop in a few weeks time.

The only thing that would worry me is that once they start to sprout, this is really just the stage prior to flowering and running to seed, and at this time of year it can all happen astonishingly fast. So watch them closely.  You may need to pick every couple of days and you might get a harvest that is over fairly rapidly.

Anyway, I'm always interested to read about allotmenteers varying experiences do please let us know how things go.
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Paulines7

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2017, 09:19:19 »
Thanks for your replies.  It seems as though I will have a bumper crop in the next few weeks then.  We have a produce table in our village, to collect money for Cancer Research so any spare sprouting will be bundled and sold on there.

I will take off some of the leaves to cook and see what they taste like.  Should I cut the leaves off where they join the main stalk, leave a couple inches or doesn't it matter? 

If I sow seeds now for next year, I could take some of the older plants out in August and eat the leaves, whether or not they have sprouted. 

In the past, my sprouting was never as good as these current plants.  No matter how I netted them, the butterflies always got in.  This time, the new raised bed has a 6ft frame around it and the netting has been nailed on.  I just have to slip the netting off the nails at any point so I can get in there to weed.

Paulines7

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 13:50:01 »
Just an update.  The purple sprouting started forming heads a week or so ago so I chopped them off on Saturday and steam cooked them.  They were delicious.  Hopefully they will now start sprouting elsewhere on the plants.  I still haven't tried eating the leaves but have thinned them out a little and given them to the chickens. 

I ought to sow some more seeds now to mature in early spring.  Maybe I can organise it so I am picking sprouting all the year round.  It is my favourite of all vegetables and costs an arm and a leg to buy from the shops. 

Beersmith

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 20:31:15 »
Brilliant!!  Well done.

I also grow Calabrese. After cutting the main greed curd, I leave the plants​ in place and they continue to produce delicious small sprouts well into autumn. This is another way of extending the cropping period.

Not exactly the same as purple sprouter but very tasty all the same.
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Digeroo

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2017, 05:47:38 »
I am sure the young leaves are good to eat.  The old fashioned non F1 purple sprouting used to produce little heads and you ate them leaves and all.  Be brave try them. 

I am going back to the non F1 because the F1s simply do not seem to go through the winter.  I do not think it is the cold that upsets them but it is very windy on our site.

Paulines7

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 08:17:10 »
I am sure the young leaves are good to eat.  The old fashioned non F1 purple sprouting used to produce little heads and you ate them leaves and all.  Be brave try them. 

I am going back to the non F1 because the F1s simply do not seem to go through the winter.  I do not think it is the cold that upsets them but it is very windy on our site.

I always cut the heads with the young tender leaves that are on the same stalk.  We had some last night and they were delicious.  I still haven't tried chopping up the large leaves to eat but I give them to the chickens when I am thinning them out.

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Re: Purple sprouting leaves
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 08:17:10 »