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Broccoli, Purple Sprouting
Long-season heirloom with beautiful deep-purple sprouts and plenty of vitamins.
An heirloom variety with legions of fans in Italy and England who are mad for its beautiful deep-purple sprouts and high nutritional content. Introduced to the U.S. in the second half of the 19th century, this long-season variety is also a favorite of American gardeners and chefs. Enjoy raw for beautiful color in salads and crudits or cook as you would regular broccoli and the color turns the traditional green. Once the central head is harvested, the plants continue to produce plentiful side shoots. In long-season regions, you can start it indoors and plant outside in early spring—or, if you like, plant in late fall, allow the plants to overwinter and harvest in spring. Extremely cold-hardy. Harvest in about 120 days if growing in summer in long-season areas or about 200 days if overwintering.
A cool season crop. Sow broccoli seeds in average soil in early spring, or in midsummer for fall crop. In Deep South, Gulf and Pacific Coast areas, sow from fall to early spring. Start seeds indoors about 8 weeks before outdoor planting time. In rows 24" apart, sow seeds thinly and cover with 1/4" of fine soil. Keep evenly moist. Place containers in a south facing window or under grow lights until seedlings emerge. Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days. Provide seedlings plenty of light after they sprout - supplemental grow-lights can help if a sunny enough place indoors is difficult to provide.
How to Grow
When growing broccoli plants, thin to stand about 16" apart when seedlings are 1-2" high. Move plants to a sheltered location outdoors for one week before transplanting into the garden to "harden off." After the last heavy frost transplant hardened-off seedlings outdoors to an area with rich, well-drained soil, in full sun. Set them 1-2’ apart in rows 2’ apart.
Once planted out, floating row covers help keep pests at bay.
Pick broccoli when heads have tight, firm buds- about 50-60 days after transplant. Cut off central head along with 6" of stem so broccoli plants will produce smaller heads, which you can also harvest. Eat the heads raw or cooked.