Tag Archives: brassicas

Growing your own greenery


Thinking of this title, my immediate thoughts were about Cabbage and sprouts. I’ve yet to grown sprouts, and Mama F is rather intrigued to do so. The one time we had them at home, the stalks got attacked by cabbage fly and it wasn’t pleasant. Cabbage on the other hand, has been an interesting learning experience. I didn’t much success with growing from seed, so using plug plants has been far more useful. You’d think that you could plug cabbages in, and that would be it.

Not quite. Leaving them uncovered and exposed invites all sorts to munch away. You’re cabbage patch is soon decimated, you declare war on slugs and it all ends badly. Mama F builds cages covered with netting to held reduce the impact of flies and bugs. It’s a bit like an assault course trying to get in and harvest things, but the crop remains in one piece for the most part. There is certainly a lot of green, leafy things which end up on saag or pakoras. In my experience, the greener, more bitter a cabbage or green might be, the less likely it is to be attacked by anything. Not had much success growing red cabbages. Mum has possible had a couple grow, but there does seem to be more challenge with these.

There is always Spinach and Kale in some form on the plot. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve trundled along to pinch Mum’s crop for Spanakopita. You need armfuls for dinner, but it is something very straight forward to grow. I’ve always  broadcast sown the seeds and never bothered with plug plants. Plug plants would certainly help with spacing and reduce the need for thinning out. Every year, Mum sends me on a hunt to find the biggest leafed mustard green that I can find. We always end up with more perpetual spinach that we need, but it does get sown and grown. Kale is probably the more hardy of the two, and can be found to be growing along quietly in the middle of bleak winters.  And if it’s Rainbow or Vulcan chard, it’s rather pretty.

When it comes to greenery, this also covers herbs. There is masses of mint on the plot and Fenugreek is ever present. The latter is also a green manure, but wonderfully edible. It’s fire-y and bitter, but can be used in a similar way to spinach. Dried, it’s a burst of flavour when added to dishes that need a kick. FenMint should be contained; as I have found, it is unruly and get’s every where. It is however versatile, with a little going a long way.  Just think of all those mojitos….

An unlikely candidate for greenery, would be bolted radishes. Mama F starts of trying to grow Mooli. Only the weather plays havoc with fickle radishes and they bolt. When they bolt, they produce crisp, pepper flavoured pods. These you can snack on, or add to sauteed onions and garlic to make a curry.


#NABLOPOMO: Cabbage Cage harvest

Since I have been away from the plot this weekend, Ma has been digging over the cabbage patch. It was slightly full of weeds, that Ma was a little affronted by, and also about to keel over. So, sending me the occasional match report, Ma took the cabbage cage on. And she did what is a cracking job. The weeds are gone. I should probably water the contents of the cage though, it does look a bit depressed.

cabbage carnage and connundrum

I have tried to sow and grow cabbages. It simply doesn’t happen. This year, I had sown some from seed and also had some plugs. Plugs as the home made sown ones got munched on and I therefore, got very cross. Ma loves cabbages and greens. There is nothing better for home made saag, or for onion bhajis. Brassicas such as kale, go wonderfully with dinner when shredded and happen to be something of a superfood. Meaning that I want to sow them, I want them to be successful. They have their uses, but the costs of cultivating them are a whasit in the derrière.

The plugs were plugged in, in various places. Two raised beds and some open ground. Those in the raised beds, were covered in veggie mesh. All of the plugs, and the few that were home sown, all had cabbage collars. One line of preventative measure. All, were dusted with blue pellets of doom. The veggie mesh, was actually weighed down with bricks. I fully concede that was not done well, and something has still got in. Something to consider in depth and detail should I actually want to sow cabbages and brassicas with attention to detail. Definitely my own fault, you could say; most folks build a brassica cage. Now I know why.

I wandered down there today, aware that there was something green under the veggie mesh. Also aware, that most of it was gnarled and gnawed upon to pieces and resembled filligreed net curtains. I made the journey down to the plot, thinking that I have to put various cabbages and things out of their misery. And to be fair, I did. Those that had been reduced to nothing more than stalks. But I was stopped in my tracks, secateurs in hand from further snipping. There are many that have been chomped on. But there are others, that are starting to heart up, and don’t look so close to meeting their maker.

As you can see from the pictures, it is a very big green mess. A melee of cabbages-I don’t tend to follow the planting distances, though, i should-and at first sight it’s not pretty. I am inclined therefore, to leave them alone. Wait a while, to see what actually comes off.  Thing is, they might get munched on even more…..

Sunk: classroom cabbages

Finally! I became bored of seeing them sat on the pathway.

20130726-054054 PM.jpg

20130726-054106 PM.jpg

20130726-054118 PM.jpg

These are the sole survivors of the classroom experiment; and they were looking decidedly sorry for themselves. Have sunk them today and netted them. Must make a return visit however, to attach cabbage collars to them. Have never had any successful cabbages, so would like to have some. There is netting and also the blue pellets of doom. Though a few of them have been filligreed by slimers all ready.

And to cheer you up:

20130726-054429 PM.jpg

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit