The Cabbages Are (Finally) in the Ground

I’ve probably left cabbage-planting a bit late this year. The plan was to plant them out in June, but the weather was so atrociously wet, the section of the plot I’d ear-marked just wasn’t diggable. The young plants were starting to get very leggy in the greenhouse, to the point where they were in danger of going over before I could get them in the ground. So last weekend, I rolled up my sleeves, dug out a decent-sized section of soil, and got on with the job:

July 2016 - cabbages going in
Fairly close planting, as we’re not looking for monster-sized heads.

A couple of seasons back, on Beechgrove Garden, presenter Jim ran an experiment to see how the spacing of cabbage plants affected their size. He concluded that you could plant them fairly close together, as long as what you wanted were smallish heads of cabbage suitable for a couple of portions, rather than a football-sized mega-cabbage that could feed a family of six for a week. As we’re planting four different hispi / sweetheart (pointy) cabbages – ‘Jersey Wakefield’, ‘golden acre’, ‘red cap F1’ and ‘greyhound’ – they’ve been spaces at around 6-8 inches, which will hopefully keep them nice and compact.

July 2016 - Cabbages under cover
Netting is essential to keep the ravenous pigeons at bay.

Some sort of netting protection is an absolute must: pigeon attacks are inevitable, so you have to keep the beggars at bay, and it’s always a good idea to at least try to keep the cabbage whites and diamondback moths off your crop if you can.

We’ve got a batch of ‘Siberia F1’ Autumn-harvesting cabbage plants to go in at some point, and I’ll be making a late sowing of ‘January King 3’ before too long, as well. That should keep us in fresh greens for a while, all being well.

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