I pulled out my remaining mature broccoli plants (with one exception) to make room for the tomatoes I planted last weekend. Thus it seems an ideal time to pontificate on the varieties I grew this year.
Frankly, I’m not sure I was super impressed. I only grew two varieties this year – both from seedlings I acquired from my dad who bought them as seedlings. I suppose when you’re getting something for free you can’t complain too much but I think I will anyway.
The varieties I grew were Green Dragon and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.
The Green Dragon flowered very early – it didn’t bolt it just produced very quickly and as a result the initial heads were quite small.
The follow up side shoots were OK but because the plant put most of early energy into flowering it is only now big enough to produce a decent volume of shoots.
I want to be growing tomatoes now having feasted on broccoli all winter so frankly side shoots now just aren’t that helpful! The only problem I had with broccoli this year I had with the green dragon plants – they seemed to get a mould or mildew that grew on any side shoots that I didn’t pick immediately. I didn’t really investigate what it was, but it happened to both my and my fathers plants so I’m presuming it came with the seedlings so to speak. The flavour was good though.
The purple sprouting broccoli had the opposite problem – it grew really, really big before it decided to do anything at all. It did eventually produce some nice purple heads in good numbers.
But because I wanted to plant tomatoes I had to pull out the plants before I’d really made the most of all the side shoots.
So all in all neither variety was perfect. My feeling is next year I will plant different varieties and see if they perform better. I have had good results from Marathon Hybrid in the past so I may go back to that and a sprouting variety. I personally don’t think that the purple broccoli varieties taste radically different to the green ones but maybe my broccoli palate is underdeveloped. I think the only real reason for seeking them out, other than if they perform well for you, is for variety in the garden (they go green when cooked).