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Sow spring cabbages

12 August 2014
Sow spring cabbages

Sow spring cabbages to grow through winter for delicious and nutritious greens from next March onwards.

These hearty greens are a welcome treat in spring, when there's little else around – try them shredded and steamed gently in butter, salt and pepper for a really scrummy treat. You'll find a good choice of seed in our garden centre right now: 'Durham Early' is a tried-and-tested heritage variety which forms pointed hearts, while 'Spring Hero' is a ball-headed variety and 'Wintergreen' is harvested early, while still young and leafy.

Sow in roomy modules in a cold frame and pot on as they grow. By October you'll have big, healthy young plants ready for transplanting outside. They should need no winter protection, but a layer of netting or insect-proof mesh keeps pigeons and any late-flying cabbage white butterflies at bay.

Plant them out spaced closer than usually recommended, at around 20cm apart, and you'll get two harvests. In February, once you notice new growth starting and they begin to look crowded, cut every other cabbage to eat as loose-leaf greens. This makes room for the remaining plants to heart up for a second, later harvest of delicious, tender spring cabbage a few weeks later.