Of cabbages and things: progress report

I have been ignoring the veg lately so I will address this with a update on the cabbages and other brassicas. Because I found clubroot in the main part of the veg garden where I had put the raised beds I have moved the bulk of the brassicas to an area at the side of the garden that had been cleared of ancient blackcurrants and weeds. The soil here is very unimproved and heavy clay but it was dug and two lots of mushroom compost added – in autumn and in late winter. I also applied some lime – just 25g per square metre. The soil cultivation was followed by a ‘lawn’ of Veronica hederacea which is a common weed in the garden. Most were planted in mid April, having been raised form seed in February and March but I planted more to follow on last Friday. The border faces east so gets full sun from dawn to about 4pm at present.

Cabbages just before planting out on Friday

Cabbages just before planting out on Friday

The bed is planted with cauliflowers, cabbages and calabrese.

brassicas mayI have put other brassicas in other parts of the garden, including the raised beds. I have planted clubroot-resistant cabbages (‘Kilaxy’) in the beds where the disease was present last year but not in exactly the same place. It will be interesting to see how they get on. I am growing several kales including ‘Bolshoi’ which is designed to be a young leaf but we will see how it gets on as a mature plant.

Kale 'Bolshoi'

Kale ‘Bolshoi’

‘Kaleidoscope’ is a mix of coloured cauliflowers and they are looking good so far. I also have ‘Sapporo’ planted in the main bed and planted ‘Fremont’ last week so I am hoping to get some continuity of crop and not all of them maturing at the same time.

Cauliflower 'Kaleidoscope'

Cauliflower ‘Kaleidoscope’

I am growing several cabbages including ‘Hispi’, ‘Golden Acre’ and ‘Derby Day’ but this one is ‘Samantha’ which is a pointed, summer, Savoy type – should be interesting.

Cabbage 'Samantha'

Cabbage ‘Samantha’

In the ornamental beds I have planted some ‘Peacock’ kale from Robinson’s seeds.

'Peacock' kale

‘Peacock’ kale

‘Mon Petit’ is supposed to be a quick growing, small, pointed cabbage but so far it is the most vigorous of the lot and they are the biggest plants!

Cabbage 'Mon Petit'

Cabbage ‘Mon Petit’

To keep up with the fashions I  have grown some black, Tuscan kale and put it in several places, here with dark, tall antirhinum ‘Black Prince’.

Tuscan black kale

Tuscan black kale

The calabrese is doing well – I have grown several kind again this year. It is a really good crop for a small garden giving a high yield in a small space and once the main head is cut the plants produce several sideshoots to extend the cropping season.



In the beds where I had beans last year I have planted some giant cabbages from Robinsons seeds. They were slow at first but now they are making some good growth. Only time will tell if they get bigger than ‘Mon Petit’!

Robinson's giant cabbage

Robinson’s giant cabbage

Unfortunately the pigeons moved in again but I have learnt some interesting lessons. Firstly, so far, the pigeons have not attacked the brassicas by the wall. The slugs and snails have but not the pigeons. I think this most be because they are clumsy fliers and the wall and the surrounding box hedge makes it just that bit too awkward for them to get to. I hope so anyway. Also the pigeons have totally ignored the frilly kales. They attacked the kales over winter but perhaps these frilly ones look as though they have already been eaten.

Pigeon damage

Pigeon damage

The damage was my own fault because my hawk kite, which protected the crops so well last year, was in retirement after a bad accident in winter when it crashed into an apple tree and one of the struts broke. I was not sure if I would be able to repair it but so far things are holding together and it is flying high above the crops.

hawk may 30



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