There are two distinct types of broccoli, (a) those which produce a “head” or “curd”, and (b) a sprouting form which gives edible-flowering shoots.
The ” heading ” or ” curd ” forming broccoli are not so hardy as the sprouting type, are more difficult on land which is poor in plant food, and should not be grown except in warm districts.
Three varieties are, however, worthy of trial. These are Early Feltham, a hardy, well protected variety which matures during the late January and early February period; Leamington, which is fairly hardy and ready for cutting in March; and St. George, for large ” heads ” or ” curds ” for April consumption.
There are early, mid-season and late sorts of Sprouting Broccoli in both the purple and white groups. Many gardeners prefer the purple strain. A few plants only will be needed, because, after the first cutting, fresh shoots are made and these will provide further supplies of food for use at a later date.
Varieties Available Today (2017)
Non of the broccoli varieties mentioned have made it through to the present day but the large range of modern varieties more than compensates for the loss.
With the cauliflowers; Eclipse is no longer with us but All Year Round remains a popular variety. Veitch’s Autumn Giant is now known as just Autumn Giant which is a shame as the original name was a reminder of the Veitch family.
They were famous Victorian horticulturists with trial grounds in Devon and the Royal Exotic Nurseries in the King’s Road, London. See their Wikipedia entry.
Of the kales; dwarf green curled is still a popular variety.
This crop provides supplies in summer and autumn, and although there are numerous varieties, three only are required for growing in small gardens.
“All the Year Round ” makes a dwarf plant with a medium-sized ” head ” or ” curd.” Its period for cutting is largely dependent upon the time when the seed is-sown, but from seed sown in the open ground in March curds are ready for use in late July and August. Eclipse is a later variety, making larger leaves and ” head ” than the former. Veitch’s Autumn Giant is suitable for consumption in late September and October, but seed of this type is now difficult to obtain.
Cauliflowers give best results in districts where extremely hot summers and dry soil are not experienced, and in soils which have been dug deeply and enriched with manure. If these conditions are not possible, it is a waste of time and space to attempt this crop.
The kales, sometimes known as Borecole, are extremely hardy and will grow well on soils which have not been so well prepared as for some of the other cabbage crops. They will suffer from frost, but unless this is very severe they rapidly recover when warmer conditions prevail. The edible parts can be cut for consumption over a long period in winter. They are not so susceptible to ” club root ‘ disease as other vegetables.
There are tall and dwarf kinds, the latter being very suitable for planting in small plots, because the plants do not require wide spacing.
The top part of the plant is first cut for consumption and provides a good deal of green food. The stem also pushes out short edible shoots which are picked off in much the same way as sprouting broccoli.
After the first picking of the side shoots, other shoots will develop or grow and provide further supplies. This condition will continue until late April and May when the shoots develop flowers and the plants become unsuitable as a source, of food.
There are several different kinds of kale and the two recommended for growing in small gardens are :—
Dwarf Green Curled. This sort takes up very little space. It is suitable for cutting in the winter and has an excellent flavour.
Cottagers Kale. This variety is a strong grower attaining a height of 21/2 ft. and for this reason will require more space between the rows.