This year I have ‘cheated’. I feel like a fraud.
I am not sure how frowned upon it is to buy in the plants for your plot – but that is what I have chosen to do.
In the Battle of the Brassica the pigeons won hands down. ( or should that be beaks down?) See below:
Pigeons 5. Cabbages Nil
To be honest my cabbage growing got off to a rough start. I love the brassica family – ( broccoli and kale, all the cabbages, cauliflower and calabrese…) – even sprouts! And especially Purple Sprouting broccoli.
In the madness of spring sowing, the seed got sown a little late. Then they got potted on a little bit late. Then the weather was just so hot – I suspect that the little plants dried out and baked in their pots. Several times over.
In desperation, I planted them out in any corners I could find.. instead of the prepared area I had fondly imagined. And I thought I would get around to covering them up in a day or so….
Well, what a catalogue of rookie errors! And so much of it I sort of knew but ignored anyway ( mainly due to a lack of time.) I watch my brother-in-law battle pigeons in his fields every year, and I have them at home too.
I know that brassica like a good firm soil and not to be ‘checked’ by drought at any point. ( And yes…. the plants that didn’t get eaten by the pigeons started to try and flower at 3″ high. The poor things. )
I got out my seed box and considered re-sowing in situ. But the ground is still so terribly dry…
To the rescue, an excellent company which I have used before; organicplants.co.uk
I chose a few plants which I particularly like – 20 plugs – and put my order into the cyber basket. Then I notice their mixed pack offers – too good to be true – at £16.00.
So I am now the proud owner of 70 (!) baby brassica plants!
They arrive like this , so
an early morning potting up session with tea and toast, before work…
Now watered, shaded, and super protected from the butterflies, white flies and pigeons –
..with old muslin curtains for now!
A planting area is prepared;
…erm… except that I need at least three times this amount of space … I haven’t addressed that issue yet..
I would like to make proper frames to protect the plants, which I can re-use for a few years. I really admired this version on my neighbours allotment..
But I have decided to make smaller units so that I can move them around and be more flexible.
Luckily the kind heart of a friend ( who is also a carpenter!) helped me out, and the frames are in the making – 1m x 1m x 80cm high. We are using the wood from the dismantled tepee. ( Yes, that is another story…)
So, fingers crossed.
Now we need rain!
Well, we already needed rain but I would like to plant out my babies into perfectly moist conditions of course…
I envisage many future plates of deliciousness. Gently steamed Purple Sprouting broccoli and dishes of stir-fried curly Kale. Pointy spring cabbages squeaking in my hands, cooked with softly fried caramel brown onions. Cauliflower cheese- mmm -or tiny sprouts with chestnuts and crispy bacon. My mouth waters just thinking of these things.
A few years ago, when I was working to heal my badly dysfunctional tummy, cabbage was the King.
Cabbage juice to increase my stomach acid – I know that sounds awful, but it worked!
Brassica for fibre to feed my sadly depleted microbiome. Sauerkraut and fermented vegetable medley’s to try and replace some of those missing microbes….. all things which helped me to get better.
…And also took my ‘gas’ production to new and phenomenal levels. I was rocket propelled! Even my grandson was impressed….
So, for now, I will do a little ‘farty’ rain dance in honour of the cabbage, and go and buy some more pigeon netting.