Friday, 12 January 2018

Reflections - Spotlight on Brassicas

It is just about the end of the brassicas.  They have been a mixed bunch this last year.  I planted 3 sorts of kale and 2 sorts of broccoli which was fairly adventurous.   Not surprisingly the cabbages ran out rather sooner than I would have hoped. For some years now I have deployed weed suppressant fabric (WSF) on the brassica section although I left a bare strip for those brassicas that hate to be transplanted (turnips , swedes, pak choi, mooli). This has confirmed me in my opinion of the benefit of using WSF.  The weeds grew away happily in the bare strip and as the bird netting is in place it was no joke removing them - a back aching hands and knees balancing act.  

Brassica patch with bare strip to left at planting time

A few weeks on - weeds on the rampage to the left, WSF doing the hard work to the right!
The kale was great with the Dwarf Curled being the star performer for volume and hardiness.  The Cavelo Nero is excellent too but not as hardy.  The purple veined variety lost out although it was a great novelty before it got a bit tough and tasteless.  I did grow some Brussels (Evesham Special) but they were too small to grace the Christmas table. I grew two crops on the bare strip - early cabbages (Greyhound) and Caulis (All The Year Round) and then successional sowings of Turnip Swede, Mooli and Pak Choi.  These sowings either failed or faired poorly for size.  I think I should have fed the soil more before the successional sowing.  Pak Choi just gets wiped out by pests (from flea beetle to slugs) whenever I try to grow it on the allotment. Probably will not try growing it here again. 

  As always I have managed to put the latest crop (purple sprouting broccoli) in the most inconvenient of places - right where I want to plant my new strawberry patch.  The net has been raised, but not before the pigeons had a go at the PSB pecking through it when the snow weighed it down!  All will be forgiven - provided it still comes good.

Bedraggled brassicas PSB nearest

Next year I will have a smaller brassica patch as I am adjusting my rotation.  More over wintering cabbages, less Pak Choi and Mooli, some kale.  Lime in advance and a good feed for any successional sowings. And even the Swedes will be sown through WSF this year!


  1. We don’t have much success with Pak Choi for much the same reasons as you describe. Your brassicas looked to grow really well through that WSF. We try to grow as much as possible through fabric.

  2. We have problems growing swedes. If we want to sow seeds direct we cut a channel in the WCF