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Grow at Home: the best way to grow Spring Cabbages

Written by Sarah Talbot

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Posted on 4 July 2022

What is Spring Cabbage?

Spring Cabbage is a is delicious and tender variety of cabbage that you plant in summer and eat the following Spring. They are smaller and sweeter than other cabbages. You can also harvest half of the crop early as Spring greens cabbage to leave the remainder more space to grow.  

The ideal time to sow spring cabbages is late Summer to early Autumn  Spring cabbage will be one of the first proper crops you can enjoy in the Spring. So the seeds are planted then the seedlings are hardened off before they over winter to produce heads the following year.

How long do Spring Cabbages take to grow?

Spring cabbages take 4 to 6 months to grow.

How to Grow Spring Cabbages

Sowing Spring Cabbage Seeds

Spring cabbage seeds can be sown direct into the ground, in pots and planters or for the best results Rootrainers will give your cabbage seedlings the perfect start.

Spring Cabbage is classed as a heavy feeding plant so add plenty of garden compost and/or well rotted farmyard manure to your soil before sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings.

How far apart to plant Spring Cabbages

Allow a space of up to 45-60 cm all round when planting Spring Cabbage.  They need quite a bit of room so the available space may dictate your numbers. But check out the How to Harvest Spring Cabbage section below before you decide on the spacing - you may want to increase the numbers and pull them early.

When to Plant Spring Cabbage. 

The best month to plant Spring Cabbage seeds is July/ August with a view to transplanting them into the garden in October/November.  

You can wait until Autumn to plant them.  If you want to sow Spring Cabbages in Autumn you will need a growing space such as a greenhouse or Grower Frame.  If you grow them like this they will need hardening off when you plant them outside. They will be ready to plant out under plant protection about 4 weeks after sowing.  The Easy Fleece Tunnels are perfect for this job.

Planting Spring Cabbages Out

Water plants well before you begin and make a hole in the soil with a dibber or trowel. Fill the planting hole with water before planting the seedling - this will help the plant to establish. Push the soil in around the roots firmly but avoid compacting the soil which can prevent water reaching the roots. 

Keep well watered and weed free - a Speedhoe make this quick and easy - and protect with fleece in extreme weather. As Winter approaches earth up the cabbage stems by dragging soil up around the stems to prevent them rocking in the wind.

When to Harvest Spring cabbage

Spring cabbage has a short harvesting period and need to be cut before they run to seed. They have a neater more conical shape than round Summer cabbages. So they may be ready sooner than they first appear.

Remove every second cabbage as Spring Greens in March. Leave the remaining plants to heart up for harvesting in April/May.

Harvest cabbage by cutting the stem with a sharp knife close to soil level.

Cabbage Growing Hack!

Cutting a deep cross in the stump will give you the bonus of a secondary crops of mini cabbages from the old stem! Dispose of the root on the bonfire rather than compost to avoid encouraging club root.

Spring Cabbage Pests and diseases

The main threat to your crop is Cabbage Root Fly.  The best way to it is to keep the flies out by covering your crops with fine mesh - Giant Easy Micromesh Tunnels are ideal as they have the height to accommodate the growing plants.  Make sure it is secure at the edges so nothing can creep underneath. 

Also check periodically for small yellow eggs of the Cabbage White Butterfly on the underside of the leaves. Remove them by brushing them off. Cover the seedlings with fleece or micromesh to keep out cabbage white butterfly

Pigeons can make quick work of your cabbages - Netting is the answer if you have a pigeon problem.

For other veg you can plant in September check out this blog - What to Plant in September or bitten by the brassica bug?  Find out How to Grow Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Calabrese

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