Saturday, 12 May 2012


You know that I have recently been eating a few Asparagus shoots (though not as many as I would like!). Well, I though it might be interesting to showcase a few other types of edible shoot that are available in my garden at this time of year.

You probably recognise at least one of these - the Purple Sprouting Broccoli (second from left in the photo above). My crop of PSB is nearly finished for this year. I have only one plant left. Here it is, in splendid isolation:

The reason why there is only this one is that I have cleared the bed it is in, prior to planting my climbing beans, but I thought it was wrong to dig this one up when it is still producing spears, so I granted it a Stay of Execution.

I have cleared just about everything from two of the beds, (in the second one there are still the final 3 lettuces), and I have applied to them a dose of nematodes. For those unfamiliar with nematodes, they are tiny, tiny worm-like creatures that attack the grubs and larvae of bigger creatures that eat the roots and stems of vegetable plants - hence allies for us gardeners. You put them in water and apply them to the soil with a watering-can. Let's hope they work, because they are not cheap to buy!

This is the second type of shoot - the immature flowerhead of the herb Good King Henry.

Now in all honesty I can't recommend these, because I have never eaten one! I have eaten the leaves of this herb, and they are OK. Yes, just OK. You wouldn't eat this herb if you had plenty of Spinach or Chard, because it falls well below the standards of those two in both flavour and texture.

Here's shoot No.3  - Perpetual Spinach (just as it is running to seed, or "bolting"):

You have to pick these at just the right moment - in other words before the stalks go tough and woody. If you get them just right they are really nice, and add a bit of texture which you don't get from just the leaves.

Finally, here is shoot No.4 - the Golden Hop:

In this photo you can see them growing in profusion against the fence at the bottom of my garden. Supposedly they taste a bit like Asparagus (though I think that is probably along the lines of the statement that "snake tastes like chicken"...). Again, since I have Asparagus in my garden I have never been tempted to try the hop-shoots, and I treat them as ornamental rather than edible, but maybe one day I'll try them just for curiosity.

So, I think I'll just go and pick another bundle of Asparagus....

P.S. For "bundle" read "handful".


  1. Do you mind if I re-post this on my blog?

    1. Please do not re-post this on your blog, but if you want to include a LINK to it, please do so.

  2. So you were shooting shoots eh? Nematodes are great for beds like yours Mark - trouble is that we would need far too many at the allotment. It would cost a small fortune. I suppose we could dowse the hosta pots!

  3. Your PSB looks like a small tree right now. It sure did get tall.

  4. That`s a fine PSB you have there Mark iv`e not had a lot of joy with mine on the lottie, and a tidy garden too, if ever your down Eastbourne way with time on your hands? ~I have 6 rods that need some of that attention to detail

  5. The first head of this years broccoli crop is just starting to develop in my garden - just as well as I've been missing eating shoots - they are lovely just not that plentiful in summer here.

  6. Never ate the hops either... and now they are all(?) gone. Too darn invasive!

  7. My brocolli plants were ousted a while ago. I think they used up all their energy by cropping early.

  8. Your PSB still looks very proud all on its own. This is why I like growing my own, you get all sorts of stuff you don't get anywhere else!


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