Drought seems a distant memory. Rain has fallen – in light bursts, in short downpours, and in prolonged showers – for days now. Weeds are growing in front of our very eyes. But so too are the seedlings we’ve planted. Lettuce and radish have been particularly rewarding. We’ve been harvesting multicolored leaves for several weeks, mostly thinnings from the rows planted between the flowering broad beans and branching shallots.
Earlier this spring we enjoyed a robust supply of succulent purple sprouting broccoli, a type of brassica that we grew from seed last summer and left, carefully netted, over the winter. In April the plants finally rewarded us for our care and patience with a bountiful harvest of delicious shoots. Similar to broccoli rabe, purple sprouting is a delicious alternative to regular broccoli and mouth-watering when young and tender, steamed carefully, and topped with butter and a spritz of lemon.
But the (fleeting) season for enjoying PSB has now past; the large plants have flowered, the waving yellow stems abuzz with bees. I left them standing for a while, for the insects, but now I need the space. What last year was the ‘brassica bed’ is now the ‘root bed’ (due to crop rotation) and I have carrots, beets, fennel, and celeriac to cultivate. New purple sprouting seedlings are already germinating nearby. The old plants must make way. But for this I need help: