Ready, planted and ready to harvest! That is the mantra of the proud owner of one of the world's most magnificent specimens of Pesti Scleroderma, the potato. It has been patiently growing along the garden fence and now is poised to break free and bloom. Perhaps waiting to be triggered by some invisible trigger, the tall stick like rootstock, whose slimy exterior has been concealed from view for so long, is about to burst with surprising color. You dare not delay, lest it wither and die. You do not dare miss the glorious display.
There you sit, in the vinegary warm sunshine, watching your hardy little plant transform into a teeming mass of purple cabbage and bright yellow, fluffy leaves. Time to grow your very own, perhaps, but only if you got enough space because PSB takes soil space almost a year from the time you seed the little, round black seeds to when you remove your first, pale, tender leaves covered in sweet, silky green foliage. The key to getting sufficient space is not getting the seed to germinate. Germination is facilitated by water and the soil is moist when seedlings are placed there. Soil that becomes dry after a rain can take weeks to get ready.
For the best cabbage growing experience, seedlings should be sown in pots. It works best for them when they are at least five inches deep, although six inches may be needed, particularly in hot weather. Seedlings need good drainage; excess water or moisture will result in condensation on the underside of leaves and produce unsightly scales on stems. Plants sown in pots must be potted on a firm base, and care taken not to let them slip off the base. PSB prefers dry weather, so potted plants in cold weather are not a good choice.
There are two different methods for planting psb and these vary with the season. If you are planting from seed, place the seeds about one inch deep in the hole, cover with an old blanket or paper towel, and moisten the soil with water when the weather begins to get warm. This will help the plant becomes established. The best time to plant seeds is late winter through early spring. If you are planting with seedlings, you can plant them as soon as you see them developing leaves. However, if the plants have been established for more than two weeks, it is best to start out with small numbers and leave some space between them, as the young leaves will need room to develop their sugars.
If you choose to plant plants from cuttings, be sure to only sow seeds after the plants have bloomed at least three times their original size. The blooms on younger plants will produce more, but it can take more to develop fully mature purple sprouting broccoli. You may also consider cultivating your own cuttings from cuttings that you got at your nursery or from other people who have purchased your plants. While this is an easier way to enjoy your plants, it may not yield as much of a flavorful crop.
When you do start harvesting, it is best to pick the very young leaves on purple sprouting broccoli and discard them. It is also best to pick the older, drier leaves first and keep them in a food storage bin. After the plants have flowered and produced more fruit, take only the very ripe ones and squeeze out the seeds. This will ensure that the plant has room to grow and produce more fruit in the future. Since the flavor of the fruit is dependent upon how far it is picked and the process of drying, make sure you pick the fruit just before it is dried to retain as much flavor as possible.
Once the plants are completely established, you should take a sample of each group of leaves and make a sifting procedure to separate the edible seeds from the non-nutrient seeds. Once you have separated the edible seeds, you can continue with the process of sowing. This is when you will choose which variety of brassica to grow in your greenhouse. For sowing a larger selection of brassica, you can simply divide the plants in half and place each half in one small cup of water, but for a smaller selection you may want to place two cups in each pot.
Before you start feeding your plants with soil, you should test the soil for the presence of any foreign organisms. Most common bacteria, yeasts and parasites can grow in soil, but you should test the soil first and collect a sample if possible. The easiest way to test the soil for these contaminants is by using a kit from a gardening store. You will need the following items: PSB starter culture, a small handful of soil, water, hook type agitator and air stone. Once you have collected your sample, you should then use the kit to test for bacteria and then see what type of bacteria is present in the soil.