Thursday, 19 June 2014

Plugs v Grow Your Own

After a bit of a dull start Wednesday was a gorgeous June day with some long sunny spells and the temperature up to 24.9°C by late afternoon making it the warmest day of the month.

I thought it would  be worthwhile to write a post about our bought in brassica plug plants. Our brassicas that should have over wintered to produce some springs greens succumbed to club root. This meant a rather long wait until our spring sown seeds produced some tasty cabbages, cauliflowers and calabrese. Like you do I saw some brassica plants advertised by Marshalls suggesting their plug plants would produce an early crop. I've had mixed results in the past with plug plants but in the end I decided to give these a go. Previous posts referring to our plants can be found here and here.
These rather scrawny looking plants received on the 23 March have grown extremely well and turned into the excellent plants shown below.
The cabbages “Duncan” and calabrese “Marathon” grew away well when planted out on the plot and we are now harvesting the last of the cabbages.
These have certainly given us a much earlier crop than if I’d relied on my self sown seedlings which are only now starting to form hearts.
These are my “Hispi” cabbages which will be a few more weeks before they are ready for cutting. All the cabbages have been badly ravaged by slugs but luckily nearly all the damage has occurred to the outer leaves leaving the hearts in good condition and 100% usable.

The calabrese is now forming decent sized heads and will be ready to use over the next few weeks as the cabbages are finished.
Now whilst the cabbages and calabrese from the Marshalls collection grew away well when they were initially transplanted into pots and given some tlc the cauliflowers were a different matter altogether. They refused to grow much at all and were eventually transplanted out several weeks after the other plug plants. However, now they are looking much healthier and much more likely to go on and produce some cauliflowers.
These are cauliflowers “Mayflower” grown from our plug plants and looking pretty good.

Compared to my seed sown cauliflowers “Clapton” they're miles ahead.

So I'd have to agree that those Marshalls plug plants have definitely produced much earlier crops than I've been able to manage from my spring sowings.

Obviously the cost of buying in plug plants is much more expensive than raising your own plants from seed but I've no idea whether or not I’m in pocket or not after harvesting my cabbages, calabrese and cauliflowers.

I might even consider buying in a few cauliflower plug plants to plant in autumn to over winter and produce a crop in May next year.


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