Have you ever heard of ‘Nine Star Perennial’ Broccoli? It is a rare, ancient, perennial variety of broccoli that produces many heads that look and taste between broccoli and cauliflower. Highly productive, each plant of this perennial broccoli will produce dozens of creamy yellow heads each season. They taste great and can be cooked the same way you cook cauliflower or broccoli.
The origin of Broccoli ‘Nine Star’: A coincidence of nature !
The origin of this particular cabbage seems to date back to the beginning of the last century. Its oldest trace is in an old issue of “The Gardeners’ Magazine” from 1907. The variety ‘Nine Star’ is presented there as a cross between a normal cauliflower and a sprout, which produces a first head quite big then a series of smaller side jets. They would often be 9 in number, hence its name ‘Nine Star’!
Mister Crisp William of Heathfields, near the town of Colchester in the county of Essex in England, is credited with discovering this amazing cabbage that appeared by chance, in a row of “normal” broccoli in his family vegetable garden! The author of the publication describes a specimen in its fourth year producing nine heads, with three of the largest measuring 11, 10 and 8 inches in diameter, approximately 28, 25 and 20 cm, and specifies that this variety is really worth to be cultured!
After having known, it seems, a certain success at the time, this perennial broccoli gradually disappeared from the catalogues. Even if the variety continued to be cultivated here and there in private vegetable gardens, it has almost completely disappeared, we really owe its conservation to a handful of English amateur gardeners. Since this year, we have been pleased to add this interesting variety to our range of organic seeds!
How to grow Broccoli ‘Nine Star Perenial’ ?
Seeds are sown in a warm place from March, and transplanted in May, or directly in the ground between May and June, in rich soil with a sunny exposure. The harvest is done in the spring, from the second year. This perpetual Broccoli is very vigorous and hardy, after several years of cultivation, the plants can reach up to one meter in height and width, so remember to keep sufficient spacing, count 1 meter in all directions.
Note that to preserve broccoli well from year to year, it is recommended to amend the soil a little each year at the foot of the plants, for example by bringing a few shovels of compost. Another notable feature, if we let this broccoli go to seed, the plant dies. Except for the purpose of reproducing it by seed, it is therefore important to collect all the broccoli to prevent the cabbage from collapsing.