I’m a big advocate of shopping locally, mainly because it’s good for both you and the local community. Even though I have a fairly large edible garden I still head to the local market a few times a month throughout the year. Besides purchasing eggs, cheese and milk there, I also wander the stands in search of new kinds of vegetables to try or to grow in my garden. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the local farmers are branching out to sustain a year-round market, you might find yourself with a whole new world of vegetables to try to grow in your own garden.
Take this sprouting broccoli for example. I’ve tried growing it in my garden before, but I had a hard time finding specific cultivation information and thus was not successful in getting it produce. I was reading Tender“>’Tender’ by Nigel Slater the other evening and discovered how it needed to be cultivated in order to produce. I spent some time searching the internet for a few varieties that would survive my zone 5 winter and came across West Coast Seeds who sells a nice variety of sprouting broccoli. Essentially, you start sprouting broccoli in late summer and allow it to overwinter. In spring, around this time, it will start producing shoots of broccoli, not one large head, but small side sprouts.
Wouldn’t you know it, I went to Local Roots in Wooster, OH last week and one of the farmers was selling sprouting broccoli! You know I’m going to order some seeds for a few different varieties and I’ll be starting them in late summer to overwinter. There’s nothing I would love more than to be harvesting broccoli from my own garden right now – and I know for sure that it can be done in my area thanks to my friendly local farmer.
Have you ever heard of sprouting broccoli or grown it in your garden?
I cannot recommend this book more, it’s part gardening manual, part cookbook it really is quite a bargain for around $25. Nigel recommends specific varieties of vegetables to grow and cultivation information. The recipes are usually simple and any that I have tried are outstanding. After checking it out of the library several time I finally have a copy on my bookshelf.