Brassicas - sounds sophisticated, doesn't it? This is how you grow cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and kale.
Brassicas are a popular variety of plants including broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers and kale. They take a long time to grow and require a lot of nutrients to mature properly, and so if you want to grow brassicas, then you’ll need to be ready for a long-term commitment. However, the resulting crop is hugely rewarding, and provides a harvest that can be picked at any time of year, allowing you to brighten up those winter meals with something home-grown.
Duration: 2-3 hours per vegetable patch one metre by two metres.
Brassicas can be sown at varying stages of the year depending on the variety throughout spring or summer so choose the variety and the planting time depending on when you would like to harvest them.
Plant seeds at a maximum depth of 2.5cm in firm soil in seed trays. Brassica seeds should be sown very thinly to avoid crowding. As seeds germinate and seedlings come out from the ground, thin out weedy specimens.
As seedlings develop and need transplanting, grow them on at 7.5cm apart to ensure that plants become stocky specimens, giving you the best chance for success later in the growing season. Brassicas do not like disturbed soil, so it’s vital when planting to avoid placing seedlings into ground which isn’t firmed down. When each plant has several leaves, pot them up, ensuring that seedlings are placed 7.5cm apart.
Plant out healthy plants
When healthy plants have developed five or six true leaves, plant them out. Prepare the vegetable patch fertilised with organic matter - well-rotted compost or manure. Make sure the ground is firmed down before planting.When transferring brassicas into their final growing position, they need a lot of space, and you should attempt to give each plant a boundary of between one and two feet from its neighbours.
Water in well, so much so that a small puddle is created around the base of each plant. Brassicas don’t often need a lot of water if you puddle them in when planting. This is done by watering so heavily that a puddle forms around the base. In severely dry weather, watering can be done every 10 days, but shouldn’t ordinarily be needed. In severely dry weather, water plants every 10 days.
Fight off slugs and snails
Pick up snails and slugs to prevent them from damaging the plants. Brassicas are susceptible to club root and a variety of pests including caterpillars of cabbage white butterfly, To deal with the club root remove the infected plants which can be identified by yellowing leaves and slowed growth. To protect them from the caterpillars as well as birds, grow brassicas under a protection mesh.
Allow brassicas to mature fully until cutting off the cabbage, cauliflower or kale head with a sharp knife. It usually takes between 50 and 100 days.