Perennial Nine Star Broccoli – Brassica Oleracea Botrytis Asparagoides. Is an amazing hardy vegetable that produces a central large creamy white cauliflower type head with a myriad of sprouting side shoots from as early as February through to May. To keep the plants sprouting year after year you have to cut off all the florets for eating and any flowers that try to emerge so you don’t allow the plants to go to seed.
Perennial Nine Star Broccoli – the plant that keeps on giving
The following spring you will get another crop of edible florets and for several years after that. Some of our plants are just entering their 5th year, with a new 1 year old crop ready to take their place. Plants can grow up to a metre tall and wide so leave plenty of space between them. They will need staking once mature. Use the florets in the same way as cauliflower – great in stir fries, gratins or raw.
The plant was originally developed by Charles Curtis from Cambridgeshire who bred it (around 1928). Currently both seed and plants of this variety are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain as larger commercial growers no longer cultivate it. Compared to other brassicas, Nine Star produces a lot less seed so only small independent nurseries and growers continue to work with it. There are a handful of plant breeders dotted around the world who are currently trying to breed and improve the crop. The problem has been an ever shrinking pool of seed, which has led to a lack of genetic diversity. Hopefully we will be working alongside some of those other plant breeders over the next few years on a Nine Star field trial to see if we can produce vigorous crops with long lasting perennial habits.