|Cabbage "Golden Acre"|
I'm sure most of you know this, but the brassica family is the Cabbage family, a very big family that includes not only Cabbages, but also Cauliflowers, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Kohlrabi, Swedes, Turnips and Radishes (and many others besides). Plants in this family tend to be pretty hardy and will withstand cold conditions better than most, which is why I associate them with Winter.
One of my six raised beds is currently devoted to growing brassicas. Not entirely devoted to it, I have to admit, because the big brassica plants are underplanted with a few endives and chicories. I currently have it protected by a net from the diggings of my local fox population, but I have folded-back the net to show you what's underneath:
Nearest the camera are six Cavolo Nero plants, which are nearing maturity. I normally treat these as cut-and-come-again plants, harvesting a few leaves at a time rather than cutting the whole plant. I see them as being Autumn plants, rather than Winter ones, but I know from experience that they will survive some very low temperatures. If you leave them to mature they will produce a crop of tiny flower-shoots than can be used like sprouting broccoli.
|Cavolo Nero "Black Tuscany"|
Here's a view of the Cavolo Nero from the other side. The undersides of the leaves are typically smooth and pale, whereas the tops are dark green verging on black, and deeply "savoyed" or wrinkled.
|Brussels Sprout "Brilliant"|
At the foot of the Sprouts are the Cabbages. I originally planted four each of "Golden Acre" (green) and "Primero" (red). Two of the green ones have gone by now (one eaten by us; one eaten by slugs), and the other two are ready for harvesting. Officially they are Summer Cabbage, but they have (in common with many other plants this year) developed very slowly. You can see that this one is beginning to split, which is a sure sign that it wants to be harvested:
In another of the raised beds my Purple Sprouting Broccoli is coming on nicely. Each plant is tied to a supporting stake, and is spaced about three feet from its nearest neighbour.
|PSB with Chirory underplanted beneath it|
Even the PSB plant that nearly succumbed to the Cabbage Root Fly is looking OK now. It is much smaller than the other five, but it will probably still deliver a worthwhile harvest in due course.
|Purple Sprouting Broccoli|