It’s only when you flick through the seed catalogues that you realise there is a cabbage for every season.F
inding room for them in a modest plot is more difficult. We have two raised beds for brassicas and we still have to shoe-horn them in.
It all comes down to timing. If you get the sowing times right then you can rotate through each variety. This year I have some cauliflowers that overwintered in the cold frames which were sown in August. In February I sowed some Hispi – a fast-growing spring cabbage and Candisa which is a summer cabbage that can be grown close together and harvested as a crisp mini-cabbage for use in salads and coleslaws. They have all been planted out in one bed and will hopefully have been consumed by mid-July.
At the other end of the scale I still have purple sprouting broccoli which was sown last March and has yet to sprout. It is quite an investment because it takes up space for more than a year but it’s worth it – especially when you see how expensive it is in the supermarket.
Last year I mis-timed my sowing and some of the savoy and red cabbage had to sit in pots until space became available in the raised bed. It was noticeable how that delay affected the plants: those that went straight in the bed grew into lovely big cabbages but those that were held back were weedy specimens that didn’t form good hearts and ended up in the chicken pen.
This year I am waiting until later this month or even early May to sow my kale, red cabbage and savoy so that they can replace the early cabbages and cauliflower. The sprouts and sprouting broccoli have already been sown and potted on because they take so long to mature – I shall be planting those in the second bed in the next few weeks.
That’s the plan anyway!