Before the seed is sown, fork in some fine compost into the soil at a rate of a bucketful to the sq. yd. After this apply carbonate of lime at 4 oz. (120g) to the sq. yd. unless the ground is already chalky.
Sow the seed about the middle March, to ensue a succession, make a second sowing two weeks later.
It will be the end of May or early June before the plants are ready to be re-planted into their final position. They can be planted in rows 2 ft. (60cm) apart and allow 1 ½ ft. (45cm) between the plants. If you want very early cabbages that are well hearted in June, sow the seed of a variety such as Primo early in February a cold frame in rows 6 in. (15cm) apart. When the plants come through, they must be given some ventilation on warm days. Increase the ventilation in March or early April so that they harden off ready to be planted into their permanent position. Allow 1 ½ ft (45cm) between rows and 1 ft. (30cm) between plants.
Keep down the weeds; watch out for pests such as greenfly, whitefly, and caterpillars. A good way to protect the crop is to add a barrier of fine netting or fleece to keep the flying insects off the plants.
The cabbages can be cut as soon as they have good hearts. Pull up stumps, put them on the compost heap.
The seed is sown as for summer and autumn cabbages; in the north it may be necessary to sow it in the middle of March, but in areas where the weather is mild it can be sown in April or May. To save time the seeds can be sown where they are to grow. Sow three seeds every 2 ft. (60cm) along a drill; later the plants can be thinned out to allow room for good growth and development. Those that were not sown in their final growing position can be planted out in July allowing 2 ft. (60cm) between the plants.
Winter cabbage will be ready for cutting any time between November and the end of February depending of course on the variety sown. It will be a long time before the hearts burst and run to seed once the cold weather has arrived.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of “Your Perfect Lawn, " a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com
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