December 12th, 2006

International Kittens of Mystery

Broccoli

After losing our overwintering broccoli three years running to the minus eights and tens of unseasonably cold winters, we decided it was time to look for a new variety. So we consulted Messrs. Thomson & Morgan and found they had an ultra resistant variety that had been tempered on the glacier fields of Northern England and renowned for surviving even the worst winters.

Yeah, right. Forgive the scepticism but broccoli and hype go to together like 'lying' and 'politician.' For years we've grown Early Purple Sprouting broccoli and for years we've read the 'ready from early February' claims on the back of the seed packet and for years we've had to wait until March or April. And we've lived in mild winter areas like Devon and Normandy.

So, when our new packet of Rudolph the Not Red but decidedly Extra Early Purple Sprouter claimed it was ready from January we took the news with a large pinch of sea salt.

That is, until yesterday, when we were hammering in new stakes for the broccoli that had been blown over in last week's gale. And found two plants covered in extra early purple sprouts.

We had them for dinner, setting another new record in a year of new gardening records. Figs in November now broccoli in December. What is the gardening world coming to?