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Beat the broccoli shortage!

GROWING your own may be the only way to have crops of purple sprouting broccoli this year, experts at Thompson & Morgan have warned. With the announcement from the National Farmers Union today that crops across the country have been devastated by severe winter weather, the seed company is gearing up for a surge in sales!

Severe weather throughout much of winter has decimated crops of purple sprouting broccoli, with growers and farmers predicting major shortages in the coming year. The National Farmers Union has said some crops have been completely devastated by the cold weather, and warned that consumers will struggle to find the vegetable due to the reduced broccoli supply and will have to face rising costs for it this year.

Such is the popularity of purple sprouting broccoli thanks to its incredible nutritional qualities, fans are expected to get back to basics and start growing their own. 'Purple sprouting broccoli is such a superfood that many people will be sorely disappointed at the news of this shortage', said Thompson & Morgan's Paul Hansord. But savvy shoppers will use this to their advantage and have a go at growing their own - ensuring their families don't have to go without, and saving an enormous amount of money at the same time.

Broccoli is an easy vegetable to grow and by choosing the right varieties you can ensure you have crops all year round. We are expecting an increase in seed sales over the coming weeks and will be gearing up to ensure we have plenty of stocks to keep customers happy.

Since it won a reputation as a superfood, purple sprouting broccoli has become a staple of many shopping lists thanks to its high levels of iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamins A and C. But with broccoli prices set to rocket as supermarkets struggle to secure stocks, fans of growing their own vegetables can be happily tucking in for just a fraction of the cost. Lovers of broccoli could be enjoying a home grown crop this summer, thanks to the Summer Purple variety, which has been specially bred for the British climate. It also produces huge crops of the tasty spears, meaning shoppers could save a fortune on their food bills by avoiding costly imports at the supermarket.

Firm favourites amongst Thompson & Morgan customers are:

Buy a collection with a packet each of Broccoli Redhead, Late Purple Sprouting and Summer Purple! With the reduced carbon footprint by avoiding costly imports and the increased nutritional value in freshly picked vegetables, the home grown option really is a winner!

Buy the Purple Broccoli Collection

Thompson & Morgan's Vegetable Product Manager Colin Randel offers the following tips on how to grow great broccoli at home: -

  • > For virtually all year round production, sow Broccoli Summer Purple from early March in modules or small pots of seed compost on the windowsill, and then sow every three weeks until early May and harvest from June to November.
  • > For winter and spring overwintered crops, sow Broccoli Redhead, Broccoli Early Purple Sprouting or Broccoli Choice Mix from mid May to late June and harvest from December to May.
  • Seedlings take 5 - 6 weeks to produce sturdy plants to transplant to the garden in free-draining soil.
  • Protect early sowings from overnight frosts until late May
  • In windy areas, stake plants or earth up the stems to prevent wind rock.
  • Protect from aphids, butterflies and pigeons with fine mesh.
  • Give plants a boost with a high nitrogen feed, such as Chempak Formula No 2 , from late February.

Purple Broccoli Collection

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