Sow sprouting broccoli seeds in a well-prepared seed bed from March to June at a depth of 13mm (½”) and spaced 30cm (12″) apart. Transplant to their final positions around 5 weeks later when the seedlings have four or five leaves.
When growing purple sprouting broccoli, choose a sheltered position in firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Plant purple sprouting broccoli deeply for stability at a distance of 60cm (24″) apart, and cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.
Water sprouting broccoli plants regularly and do not allow them to dry out as this may impair their development. Hoe between plants regularly to prevent weeds from establishing and bring insect larvae to the surface. Purple sprouting broccoli should be harvested before the flowers open. Pick shoots when they are 15cm (6″) long. Regular picking will encourage more shoots to be produced. Don’t remove the large leaves as these will protect the next batch of shoots as they develop. Culinary note: Sprouting broccoli is suitable for freezing.