We managed to buy some purple sprouting broccoli plants from our local nursery – they are a little late going in but hopefully we will have something to pick in spring. As plants go they do need a lot of looking after. We have put a circle of plastic around each plant to stop the cabbage root fly climbing down the stalk. If they do get in the plants won’t thrive. The next thing was to put a plastic ring cut from the centre of a large water bottle around each plant to protect them from the slugs and lastly we covered the whole area with netting to stop the pigeons and the white butterflies. The butterflies like to lay their eggs on the broccoli leaves which means that baby caterpillars then eat the leaves for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can soon devastate a crop. Hopefully we have covered every eventuality.
We tried to buy some kale plants as well but couldn’t find any. Like the broccoli they would grow a little this year then hang fire till spring when they would start to produce bigger leaves. When I looked at the seeds we had in stock I found that they can still be planted until September so I planted some out in the garden surrounded by a plastic ring for protection. The seeds were up and growing well then we had a few days of rain which brought the slugs back out and overnight my plants were eaten. I’m now planting some indoors with the hope that I can grow the plants to a reasonable size before planting out.
We are picking lots of vegetables and fruit from the allotment at the moment, the latest additions being sweetcorn and onions. The sweetcorn are so delicious picked and popped for a few minutes in a pan of boiling water, or steamed, they are so sweet and tender.
As well as sweetcorn and onions we have chard, beetroot, French and runner beans, courgettes, celery, kale, perpetual cabbage, raspberries and blackberries. The blackberries are not actually on our plot but on an empty plot and going to waste unless I pick them, so I’m freezing lots down for winter use.