Allotment Month 52 – March: hunt for the best purple sprouting broccoli, forced rhubarb and colour like no other!

I’m looking at my desk (on which I’m typing) thinking crap, where AM I going to put all of the seedlings this year. It’s already chocca with onions, celeriac, dahlias, chillis and aubergines! If you’re like me, do as I do: don’t think about it. Keep sowing merrily away and trust in your ability to organise; there is always space!

Broc til you drop

Yes my people, the time has arrived for one of the top ten of all vegetables, the purple sprouting broccoli (there is green sprouting but honestly, why bother?)

As I munched on some fresh spears from the plants on the plot I realised some of the plants were different, remembering I’d sown spare seeds of two varieties, ‘Early Purple Sprouting’ and ‘Red Arrow’. The trouble is I’ve no idea now which is which and one is distinctly better than the other.

The one in the foreground of the above photo with the smoother leaves is, how to put it? Juicier. I think it’s ‘Early Purple Sprouting’ but any growers in the know, please enlighten me. The other is fine, just a bit more leaf and a bit less flower.

Forced rhubarb

Heavenly “aaaaaaaaaah”-ing happened when I lifted the compost bin excluding light from one of my rhubarbs whose turn it was this year to be forced. After much ‘almost readying’ over the past weeks, today was the day.

I thought it might be interesting to show the comparison between forced rhubarb and normal. The stems free of chlorophyl from the lack of light and stretching up for the sun thinking they’re still below ground. This is probably the best forced rhubarb I’ve had from the plot. I alternative years between the two plants. I’ve no idea what variety as they came with the plot.

I mean, look at that colour! Look. At. It. Delicious! I cannot wait to make the first crumble this weekend.


Not exactly the most exciting of updates unless you’re the one to be eating them (i.e. me) but you can see my very, very late sown (last day of Nov) broadbeans are now growing strongly with the warmer spring weather. They’ll be later than normal as the plants are still small but I expect them to race ahead now.

Wildlife pond

Frogs spawneth! Enough said.

Mini meadow

Down at the bottom of my allotment, amongst the birds and the bees. There live a lot of friendly people, they’re called … mini daffodils. Naturalising happily from the previous allotment owners, they now form part of my otherwise native plant meadow. I’m not going to move them because they’re just so cheery at this time of year.

Brussels and leeks

The other week I had the last of my brussel sprouts but the leeks are still going. ‘Northern Lights’ not the strongest growing but very tasty regardless. I’ll grow a different, stronger variety this year however.

Colour me up Scotty

This is a little slice of my new design experiment now about 15 months in the making. Don’t ask what I’m going for as it’s all foot loose and fancy free this time. I’m planting, seeing what happens slowly, slowly, and then I’ll make plant moves and changes over time. Where we’ll end up is anyone’s guess but hopefully not the compost heap.

Completely unintentionally the late winter – early spring flowers are all deliciously in your face gaudy. Is it too much? I really hope so.

More to come on this patch as we progress into spring proper and then the main event, summer to autumn.

Blue lupins

How amazing are these blue lupin seeds? Snazzalicious is how amazing. I’ve sown them as part of a green manure mix.

White rosemary

I’ll leave you with a glimpse of my recovering white rosemary. I was growing it in a pot outside my front door where it gets so hot in summer even this Mediterranean herb struggled. Flowering beautifully it should bush out this summer.

Until next time my gardening super heroes!

Jack x

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