The last of the crops in the vegetable garden are dwindling in numbers as we pick and eat them. But more than that, the longer warmer days of Spring are bringing plants productive lives to an end as they start to form flowers heads and go to seed. For me this is a true signal that the season is officially changing, time for me to leave a few plants to go to flower for the bees and buzzies to enjoy, the rest needs to be picked and cleared to make way for summer plantings.
Brassica are a staple of the winter and spring garden – but this is entirely dependant on my success or otherwise as a grower. The winter cabbages and cauliflowers were rather sad and sorry this year, but the Kales and Purple Sprouting Broccoli have been fabulous. Time to focus on the positives and work out what went wrong with the negatives later.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli is a member of the Broccoli family – what we normally see in the shops is the standard green heads of broccoli, or rather Calabrese. The Sprouting kind looks and tastes distinct. It literally produces fine individual stalks or sprouts with tiny heads on, is hardy and perfect for overwintering for harvesting in Spring, as the RHS say - ” filling the gap between sprouts and spring cabbage.”
As the seasons change and the last pickings of Purple Sprouting Broccoli get nearer, my thoughts turn to sowing next years crop – I’ll start the seeds off, outside in modules or pots for transplanting later (slugs like PSB too!) and then I will plant them into some rich soil that has some extra manure dug in to it. Last year I trialled growing them under the climbing beans, a great use of space seeing as these plants are in the ground for 9 months, and as it turns out a perfect way to stop the pigeons pecking away at my precious Spring food. And if you want a picture of what pigeons or chickens can achieve when they get the munchies check out the photo on Willow Cottage Garden, it could reduce me to tears!
Spring Simplicity Pasta
So as the season’s change I’ll give you my favourite way to eat this Spring delicacy – simply mixed in with Linguine Ali Olio. A perfect workday-weekday supper – tasty, filling but light and nutritious.
Put your pasta on to cook, chop a garlic clove or two and gently saute the garlic (don’t brown it) alongside a dried red chilli in some olive oil. When the pasta is nearly ready add the Purple Sprouting Broccoli to the garlic chilli and stir it in. Put a lid on and cook for 3 – 4 minutes max, we don’t want soggy vegges now do we! Drain the pasta and add it to the veggies, mixing it in well. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, season with sea salt and black pepper and serve in bowls with some grated Pecorino or Parmesan.
See I said it was Simple.