Cold, chilly and clammy? Plant some cabbages

There aren’t a lot of things that will positively thrive in the kind of weather we’ve had across the UK since April started, but cabbages are extremely hardy members of the brassica family, they are resilient and enjoy cold damp winters, and above all they are capable of withstanding low temperatures which would destroy many other crops, even while they are still at the seedling stage.

Because of all this, cabbages are easiest crops to grow – although getting people to eat them may be a different matter! If your children hate cabbage, they aren’t being difficult on purpose. Some young people have a tastebud receptor that responds to one of the key ingredients of cabbage as though it were rotten eggs (it is in fact a sulphur-based compound and as we all remember from school chemistry, sulphur smells a bit like bad eggs) and the interesting thing is while around 40% of the population have it, most of them find that particular receptor atrophies over time, so by the age of twenty or so, they don’t think cabbage is horrible any more! One way to help them get through this, if you’re determined they should eat their greens is to steam or stir-fry young cabbage, then serve it with toasted sesame oil and sesame nuts which counteracts the flavour. To get rid of the smell, chuck a handful of parsley into a small pan of boiling water and let the steam clear out the cabbagey odour – it really works.

Back to the allotment: any well drained ground suits a cabbage, but if possible dig in a goodly amount of manure several months before sowing and make a series of sowings from mid spring to early summer for successional harvesting.

Cabbages grown outdoors should be transplanted when four or five true cabbage leaves have appeared and they are greedy, so you need to give them plenty of water and plenty of fertiliser during the growing period.

Cabbages courtesy of jmurawksi

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, April 11, 2008


Blogger Matron said...

For some reason cabbages don't do well for me. I've tried several times but to no avail. I do grow broccoli (thank heavens). I love the ornamental cabbages, they make a wonderful display over Winter, don't they?

April 14, 2008 at 11:36 PM  

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