Back in the summer we planted out some broccoli seedlings, they were a bit slow to grow but once they started there was no stopping them (they still aren’t as big as the ones I bought a few years ago at a car boot, I don’t know what variety they were but they grew over 4 ft tall and had a massive amount of broccoli florets on them)…..I think I spent half my summer going out on butterfly patrol, popping out several times a day to wipe away any tiny orange eggs from underneath the broccoli’s leaves…and to squish the occasional small bright green caterpillar…
Each crisp and cold Autumn morning began with me going outside, turning over the leaves to check for caterpillars and tiny snails (though luckily the fat wood pigeons that liked our peas so much left the broccoli alone)…..some mornings Bernard would accompany me, rubbing round the plants, and looking for a place to dig, other days when it was too nippy he’d stay indoors near a radiator……some mornings it would be covered with tiny almost misty cobwebs that glistened with dew….
I love broccoli, both as a vegetable to eat, but also because it looks so beautiful, those gorgeous florets like bouquets of exotic purple flowers…..(I want to say it’s my favourite vegetable, but as soon another one comes into season then I decide that is my favourite….really I like them all and will greedily eat huge mounds of them…apart from swede, ugh ugh ugh I really can’t be doing with that at all.)
Then over the Christmas holidays we woke several mornings to a heavy frost, and to find the garden transformed by white frost and an eerie cast light….. the leaves look more purpley now than later on in the daylight, and the florets are bunched up tight ….
Most days the frost didn’t last, by mid-day it was gone and here in Norfolk we haven’t had snow. Everything that had flopped in the cold has sprung back and shot up in growth, certainly the cold snap gave the broccoli a bit of an incentive to grow, it’s really bushed out a lot these past few days…….
I never tired of going out to look at it all frost covered and sparkly….
It won’t be long and it’ll be ready to start cutting and eating…..I love it steamed and drizzled with sweet chilli sauce, or tossed in creme fraiche and nutmeg…..Bernard likes his plain, maybe with a tiny dab of butter. (he will happily sit and eat it ’til the cows come home…and he also likes sprouts, though they do seem to make him more windy than normal)