Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

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DMcL
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Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby DMcL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:04 am

This is my first post on the forum.
It was prompted by reading a old post from 2013 by Johnboy.
He made a passing comment about growing PSB as cordons in response to a beginners question about PSB being Too tall for the OPs poly tunnel.

My question follows. Anyone who know is welcome to answer

I have a half allotment here in Devon where we don’t have the need for poly tunnels to grow overwintering purple sprouting broccoli.
In fact, I am still to harvest my last 4 plants just before they go to flower.

But they are very tall (5ft) and I have had to lower them onto a cordon cane to fit under my hooped netting. I am about to plant next years PSB and I am planning to experimentally cordon them in my 15” deep beds, which are aligned NE to SW .
Should I slope the canes towards or away from the sun?
Should I start them on the slope immediately or wait until they have grown to a certain height?
I don’t have enough room to try all the permutation this year.

Look forward to hearing from any other vertical challenging brassica growers.

Donald McLintock
Thanks to KG Steve for suggestion to start a new topic.
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Geoff
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby Geoff » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:50 pm

I wonder why you are still protecting them when they reach 5'. I net mine by surrounding them with windbreak netting then putting an anti-butterfly net over the top at about 4'. The top netting is removed at the end of the butterfly season and the plants are only just up to it by then but they do get taller, particularly as they sprout. I find the surround netting keeps pigeons off as they like a clear take off.
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Westi
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby Westi » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:29 pm

Johnboy still pops up from time to time so you may get a response if patient.
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DMcL
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby DMcL » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:16 pm

Thanks to Geoff, you make sensible suggestions Re pigeon flight paths.
2 years ago the pigeons ate half of my PSB after a January storm when my netting partially blew away.
... It’s milder but not calmer over winter in Devon.
My netting is very wide and is designed to run over pipe hoops ( left over from under floor heating a couple of years ago)
My raised beds are tall so I access my crops from the dugout path rather than over the top.
I shall see what other suggestions are made .... I suppose I quite like the idea of the experiment any way.
Donald
P.S. we have already seen both kinds of cabbage white butterflies this spring - I don’t think they would destroy the PSB now but I don’t want to give them a breeding ground.
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sally wright
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby sally wright » Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:27 am

Dear Donald,
did I read that right; you are planting out your PSB now? In Devon, with the milder winters you have, I would not have advised even sowing PSB yet!

I live in Cambridge and to avoid a fodder crop suitable for feeding giraffes in my brassica cage I do not sow Kale or PSB until the first week of May and I do not plant out until the middle of July. That is plenty soon enough for a good crop off plants that get to about three to four feet. Even for the early varieties such as Rudolph.

I would suggest you try doing a second sowing in about the 2nd week of May and planting out in early August as a comparison to see which gives the more manageable crop. Just a few plants to see if the later sowings make a difference for you; I think that they will.

Regards Sally Wright.
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retropants
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby retropants » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:59 am

I concur! I haven't sown my PSb yet either! Last year's, donated by my mum, I just popped them into the flower bed last summer, they are cropping now, not vast amounts but a manageable trickle! They are 3 ft high.
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DMcL
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby DMcL » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:03 pm

Hi Sally & retropants,

When I first moved to Devon from Glasgow 40 years ago I could not believe that I had to mow my lawn in January.

Our house and allotment are within half a mile of the river Exe estuary and only 15m above sea level. people have torbay palms in their gardens ( like The Scillies and Inverewe gardens on the west coast of Scotland.)

There are 24 half allotment s on our site and 100 more round the the corner. A substantial number have brassicas in the ground without fleece etc.
I did not record when my psb went out last year but it was probably only a week or two later.
Must keep better records ...

However My tomatoes got wind blown when i started hardening them off today. Max temp was only 16 degrees This afternoon but has been 18 plus for the last few days here.

I use a slow cooker ( actually 2) in a plastic lean-to on a south facing wall to overnight tender items. It’s 14.5degC in their now at 10PM

I picked the last of last years PSB today. It was a 3rd cut and about 1/4 of the heads were blossoming yellow.

Still looking for some advice re cordons

Donald
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Colin2016
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby Colin2016 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:43 am

Could you not raise your netting, mine grow under 4ft high frame gets bit crowded towards end of season though.

Going to use netted poly tunnel bit extreme but hey will be interesting to see how high they can grow.
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DMcL
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby DMcL » Wed May 06, 2020 12:20 pm

This is my 2nd attempt to thank Sally Wright for her sensible suggestion. I had not realised the significance of the later sowing leading to smaller plants. I have been Covid allocated temporary use of part of a neighbouring allotment plot. I shall try to experiment on that.
For those who suggested raising the netting cage it is made of left over underfloor heating pipe, which is narrower than most allotment hoops, and as a result the supporting canes can only be a certain thickness and therefore a certain height ( allowing that I have filed down the bamboo leaf nodules already!)
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby Colin2016 » Thu May 07, 2020 8:51 am

I assume you are putting the canes inside the heating pipe, have you thought about attaching outside using cable ties?
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DMcL
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Re: Purple sprouting Broccoli as cordons ?

Postby DMcL » Thu May 07, 2020 9:14 am

Thanks Colin, I did try it but had problems. I think the relatively small diameter underfloor pipe reduces the potential grip. There a physics formula that explains it but I cannot remember it’s name.
Also my net won’t stretch to more than another 10 cm.
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