Beetroot are a bit of a neglected vegetable, but they’re easy to grow and offer something new and fresh to your kitchen.
If you’re looking for an excellent end-of-summer crop that offers a lot of different cooking variations, Chinese cabbage is ideal.
When the days are long and warm, Chinese or Napa cabbage will grow to its largest and best form, though you can plant a little earlier in the season if you wish to get some smaller mini salad leaves to enjoy.
Preparing compost for Chinese cabbage
Chinese cabbage requires a lot of fertile soil, and you’ll need to enrich your planting area with a general-purpose fertiliser in addition to compost or well-rotted manure. Cabbages need to be positioned in a sunny spot with moisture-retaining soil if they’re to thrive. If you have acidic soil, you should add lime to the area as Chinese cabbages are very vulnerable to clubroot disease.
Planting Chinese cabbage
You should sow seeds every three weeks between early June and August, placing seeds in holes 13mm deep and ensuring that rows are at least 38cm apart. If you want to grow proper cabbages, place young seedlings 30cm apart so they have room to grow. However, if you’re just growing for leaves, you can reduce this distance to 15cm.
Maintenance and harvest
During the growing season, keep cabbages weed-free and well-watered to ensure that they don’t begin to flower. Remove the flower stalks if they appear. If you’re just growing salad leaves, chop off maturing leaves as they develop. For true cabbages, allow the central heart to develop and once mature, slice cleanly with a knife and store.