When did you last see your winter cabbages?

Sown outdoors in a seed bed from late April to mid May, these look like the difference between famine and feast to the winter allotment gardener, and what a fine crop my allotment neighbour has (I’d love to pretend they are mine, but everybody knows they’re not!)

Pick an areas where the adult plants will be unshaded or in some sun, and where the ground is rich and moisture retentive but not freshly manured. Cabbages require well-consolidated soil, so leave several months between digging and planting and always, always, always avoid planting in an area where the previous crop was of the brassica family.

Sow seeds very thinly in drills half an inch deep with rows five to six inches apart. As they grow, thin seedling to about three inches apart, keeping the strongest.

Once they have five or six leaves, in July, transplant them to the final growing position, setting them slightly deeper than they were in the seed bed in rows about twelve inches apart and with about the same distance between plants.


Protect the seedlings from sparrows!
Hoe carefully until the crop is large enough to suppress weeds so you don’t loosen the root system
During winter firm down any plants loosened by wind or frost
You may need to cover plants overnight if they remain in the ground after November

Time from sowing to harvest is anything from twenty to thirty-five weeks.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, September 20, 2007


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