Whether for spring or winter cabbages, the culture is the same, the time of sowing being: for spring, July and August, for summer and autumn, late March; for winter, late May or early June. Sow thinly not more than 1 in. deep; keep watered and protected from birds. As soon as the plants have made from 4 to 5 leaves they should be planted out 20—24 in. apart on a well-manured and deeply dug piece of ground prepared beforehand; a liberal supply of liquid manure is useful during the growing season. A top dressing of ‘Nitro-Chalk’ or sulphate of ammonia is beneficial when the plants are about three-quarters grown. When planting, tread in the young seedlings firmly, both at the roots and on the surface, and if the ground is dry, water a few hours earlier. Cabbage caterpillars must be picked off every evening after first noticing them and put into salt and water to make sure of destruction. The pest can be checked in advance by early syringing or dustings of derris or Pyrethrin on the young plants to keep off the white butterfly, which deposits the eggs.

Cabbage root fly injury can be detected by the wilted, blue-grey appearance of the plant. Aldrin or gamma-BHC insecticides should be applied as a routine preventive measure within 7 days of setting out — treat all brassicas from the end of April onwards. See also CLUB ROOT. Some amateurs plant spring cabbages only 9 in. apart, but keeping the usual distance between the rows; then when they are big enough for early spring greens they pull alternate plants, thus leaving 18 in. for the maturing of those which are being grown on. Spring cabbages are often planted on the ground from which onions have been lifted. The soil there is ideal for them. It should not be loosened by digging, but merely weeded and levelled with a rake.

It is advisable to choose varieties known to do well in your district. Some varieties are suitable for spring, others for July or August sowings. In the north, amateurs often tend to plant out their spring cabbages too late. Always finish the final planting by the end of September. Autumn Queen, Greyhound, January King and Primo are recommended for spring sowing. For autumn sowing try Earliest of All, Ellam’s Dwarf, Early Spring or Flowers of Spring. Wheeler’s Imperial can usually be sown in either autumn or spring.

Red or Pickling Cabbage:

Seed should be sown in August, following the procedure above, to be ready for picking the next July.

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