The overwintering broccoli variety Aquiles is one of the few crops that succeeds almost every time despite frost and cold, storm surge, flood, heat wave, drought and whatever the weather gods can think of throwing after it. On top of that, it grows at a time when it is not attacked by pests, so you get rid of the usual larval paranoia. Sown in September, overwintered in small pots in an unheated greenhouse and planted in a manure bank in March - then there is reasonably consistent fresh broccoli to harvest around June 1st.
Not only does Aquile give neat heads, it is also quite willing to produce side shoots. Thus the plant here, which gave a nice middle head and a large side shoot almost a week ago, and where there are already 5-6 harvest-ready side shoots.
Possibly they form faster side shoots because they are planted quite close to the manure bank (13 pieces of 1m2), where the oldest and largest leaves are removed continuously to provide more light and air - and as soon as the center head is harvested, the plant receives a fertilizer supplement to boost in things again. And it all ends up with less than half of the 6 kilos of broccoli that the bed tends to shed during the month of June (before the cabbage butterfly becomes a problem) coming from the main shoots - the rest are side shoots.
Written by Peter Norris, June 2, 2018