Earlier this year, Victoriana Nurseries sent me a parcel of veg seedlings for the garden. I've already written of the much anticipated cut-and-come again cauliflowers. I'm not entirely sure what to look out for to see signs of cauliflower heads forming but I assume that the lovely rich soil they're growing in will encourage them to carry on and do the right thing. They're looking wonderfully strong and healthy and must measure at least three feet across which seems like a very good thing to me.
Also in the parcel were Tozer brussels sprouts (and rambling strawberries but, for now, let's just talk brassicas). How exciting to grow your own christmas dinner sprouts - and purple ones at that! More by luck than judgement, they were planted into a patch of well-manured soil - which I now know is exactly the right thing for them. I wish I'd known to plant them deep (up to the first leaves for stability) but they seem to be doing okay as I staked them young. In fact, I think they're really rather beautiful.
I would have photographed the tiny sprouts forming but they're in shadow as the plants are between a raised bed and a low wall. The tops have been catching my eye for a while now - the colours are stunning as the leaves of Tozer are richly veined with bright purple. I'm not sure my pic does them justice but the shot that I missed last month was when bright orange nasturtiums had worked their way next to the plants. The orange/purple contrast was sublime but it was too dark at dusk for photography so that one has to stay in my head. The tops can apparently be cooked and eaten like cabbage - Sue at Backlane Notebook has been experimenting with cutting off the tops for eating. I'm not sure whether this will inhibit the sprouts' growth or whether this will divert energy back into the sprouts. Does anyone have any experience of this? I'd love to know as I don't want to waste the delicious tops!