Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables and one that we eat many times a week with the family. I must have a hundred recipes with broccoli stored away, but mostly I love it simply boiled fresh with a knob of butter or in the oven with garlic and fennel.
I haven't grown it in the garden before this year, as I always thought it to be a tremendously difficult plant. Turns out it isn't although we had a shaky start. My seedling plants were spindly and weak, and when I planted them out (visible in the picture below right at the back of the bed) I never thought they would survive.
I covered the planting with a fleece cloth, and watered and waited and fussed over the plants for a month. Then suddenly they went "woosh" and grew into fantastic sturdy plants!
The florets ranged in size from tiny sweet ones like above, to proper shop sized bouquets like the one I hold in my hand in the picture below.
Then, as soon as they were ready to eat, I had to go away for a week. Before I left we harvested as much as we could, but still there was a a sea of florets that had gone into flower when I returned.
The bees loved them!
What joy to watch!
At about the same time, an invasion of cabbage white butterfly larvae turned up like uninvited guests to my party. I thought this was the end...
Nature however had other plans. Within days a flock of tiny birds swept in and in no time the caterpillar community was destroyed!
Afterwards new broccoli shoots kept coming, and I could harvest sprouting broccoli until the end of September. This is the one vegetable I will definitely grow next year again!