Those who already grow their own in a temperate climate will no doubt be familiar with brassicas – members of the cabbage family. These crops are important ones in temperate climates, and are often an important crop family in annual gardens.
Where I live, March is the time to sow a range of Brassica plants indoors, to transplant into the polytunnel and directly into the garden when the weather warms.
I grow both annual and perennial members of the Brassica family here. I have perennial cabbage and kale in the forest garden. And have previously grown nine-star perennial broccoli too. But I also grow shorter lived kales, Calabrese broccoli, purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi, and some other annual types too. These are the types which I sow indoors in early spring.
Today, as I think about starting these seeds within the next few weeks, I thought it could be a good time to share some articles that I have previously written about these plants.
Of course, crop rotation is crucial when growing annual brassicas. It is best not to grow them in the same place year after year. Instead, make sure you implement a three or four year crop rotation plan. Consider sowing brassicas in a bed vacated by peas, beans or other nitrogen fixers. Brassicas are nitrogen-hungry plants.
You can also help make sure their nitrogen needs are met by sowing them alongside nitrogen fixing legumes. And/or by mulching with nitrogen-rich organic materials and using nitrogen rich organic liquid plant feeds.
One other thing that is important to remember when growing brassicas is that, when planting out, they prefer the soil to be firm around their roots.
Finally, when growing brassica plants – watch out for birds! When I was growing at an allotment years ago, I lost almost an entire bed’s worth to pigeons! Use netting or row covers where necessary to protect your brassica crop. Choose a netting small enough and you can also protect your crop against cabbage whites.
This article gives a few more suggestions on this topic:
If you would like some help to create a crop rotation plan, make companion planting choices, or tend and care for brassicas in your garden, please do reach out to discuss how I can offer hourly consultancy on this topic.