Category Archives: Brassicas


(1) As brassicas require a well-consolidated soil, prepare the plot several months in advance of planting by giving it a dressing of lime if necessary. Get the seed bed ready for sowing by treading the soil really firm at a time when it is sufficiently dry so that it will not stick to your boots. Apply a top dressing of general fertilizer at the rate of 135 gm per sq m (4oz per sq yd) and rake the soil to produce a fine, crumbly surface.

(2) Make a shallow drill for seed sowing by using the back of the head of the rake and sow the seed very thinly. Insert a label in the soil with the name of the crop, the variety and date of sowing. Then gently rake sufficient soil back into the drill to cover the seeds. Dust along the drill with soil insecticide to prevent root fly. Finally rake the soil carefully to remove all trace of footprints.

(3) As soon as the seedlings can be handled easily, thin them out to leave the remainder about 2.5 cm (1 in) to prevent their becoming ‘leggy’.

(4) When transplanting, make a hole with a trowel. Then, if the soil is dry, fill the hole with water and allow to drain.

Brussels Sprouts

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(5) Next, puff some Calomel dust (taking care not to breathe in any as it is very poisonous) into each hole to prevent club root, before planting each seedling at the correct depth (refer to the individual brassica concerned). Summer cabbages and summer cauliflowers are best sown indoors in a seed tray containing peat-based potting mixture. You can either keep the tray indoors, or, better still, place it in a garden frame until the plants are sufficiently large to be set out in their final positions. If the plants are kept indoors, it will be necessary to harden them off before transplanting by placing the seed tray outdoors in the shelter of a warm wall for a few days.

(6) If you want top-quality Brussels sprouts, calabrese and cauliflowers, sow three seeds to each peat block or 5 cm (2 in) peat pot containing peat-based mixture and thin out to leave just one seedling to each pot. The pots have to be kept indoors, in a greenhouse, or in a cold frame until they are ready for planting direct into the soil.

(7) Young brassicas require plenty of water if they are to make steady progress. You can either apply water from a watering can or by using a sprinkler. If you use the latter, make sure that you leave it on long enough to soak the soil. It is pointless and harmful simply to wet the top few centimetres (inches). In light soil which dries out rapidly, the maximum benefit from watering can be achieved by setting out the plants in a shallow trench.

(8) Hoeing is the best way of keeping down weeds. The action of the hoe also breaks down the surface into a crumbly texture which does not lose moisture so rapidly as soil which has been allowed to form a crust. When hoeing, push the blade into the soil so that it stirs the surface and does the minimum amount of damage to shallow roots.

(9) Birds can do enormous damage to seedlings and mature brassicas. The remedy is to cover the crop with netting before the problem arises.

(10) With Brussels sprouts, remove the lower leaves as they turn yellow to make harvesting easier. The sprouts should be picked, starting at ground level and working your way up to the top of the plant.


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How to Cultivate Brussels Sprouts

Sowing to harvest time: 28 to 36 weeks, depending on the variety. Yield: 1 kg (21b) of sprouts to a plant. Climate preferred: Cool temperate. Aspect: Open, but sheltered from strong winds. Soil: Heavy, firm and rich in organic matter. Brussels sprouts are an excellent green crop for the winter months and freshly picked sproutsContinue Reading


Seakale is grown for blanching both outdoors and under glass. Plants may be raised from seed sown outdoors in April, but two years must elapse before seedlings are strong enough for forcing. A better method is to purchase crowns and maintain a stock by root cuttings. These are prepared from thongy roots about 6 in.Continue Reading

Cauliflower Quick Growing Guide

CAULIFLOWER Sowing to harvest time: 18 to 24 weeks for summer and autumn varieties; 40 weeks for winter varieties. Yield: 1 kg (21b) per plant. Climate preferred: Cool temperate to subtropical. Aspect: Open, but sheltered from cold winds. Soil: Rich, fertile loam, but sandy soils are suitable if plenty of organic material has been incorporatedContinue Reading


Cardoons are ornamental plants grown for their blanched stems, which are used, both cooked and raw, in salads. Plants may be raised from seed sown in a warm greenhouse or in a frame in April, two or three seeds in each 3-in. pot. Reduce seedlings to one per pot and harden off for planting outContinue Reading

Growing Cabbage All Year

By judicious selection of varieties and by successional sowing it is possible to maintain a supply of cabbage throughout the year. Soil should be well prepared. Manure or compost at the rate of 1 cwt. to 10 or 12 sq. yd. will be well repaid, but may be omitted for latetsummerplanted cabbages following a cropContinue Reading

Brussels Sprouts Cultivation

Soil preparation should be thorough. Work in animal manure or compost at the rate of 1 cwt. to from 12 to 20 sq. yd., or, better still, choose a plot that has been manured for some previous crop, such as potatoes. Then chemicals only will be required. Sulphate of ammonia may be applied in springContinue Reading

How To Grow Cabbages

Cabbages and their relatives mostly need somewhere about 2 ft. space each way for a single plant—certainly more than 15 in. To try to sow them at this distance, or to thin them out to it, is obviously a waste of garden space because, by raising such plants as Brussels sprouts on a nursery plot,Continue Reading

The Cabbage Family Of vegetables

Cabbages and all Brassicas do best in fertile, well-drained, alkaline soil. On acid soils spread lime at from ½ – 1 lb. per sq. yd., after the ground has been dug in winter or early spring. However, over-liming is dangerous; sufficient lime is added to most soils when garden compost is dug in or spreadContinue Reading

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