Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Winter Brassica Issues

Last summer I ordered some brassica plants from one of the well known seed companies. The plants arrived around the expected date and they were potted up on arrival and planted out in the plot as soon as they were large enough.
Planted out 06 September 2016 (Aalsmeer  in foreground)
On my GrowVeg plan they looked like this
For good measure here is what the seed company had to say about each variety. Please ignore the top line regarding sweet Williams which just happened to be planted in the plot on the same day.
So far we haven't harvested anything from this bed.

I took a little bit of video of them on Sunday 05 February 2017 to check on their progress. It's not a pretty sight.

From the descriptions supplied some of these varieties should have matured whilst others still may produce a crop as we move into spring. Certainly the cauliflowers Moby Dick and Amsterdam didn't make it through the autumn and early winter weather and might as well be removed to the compost heap. I might try one of the smaller cabbages as some different winter greens for the dinner table would be welcome. I'm still hopeful that the cauliflowers North Foreland and Aalsmeer will produce some sort of crop over the next couple of months. So far though the results have been very disappointing.

We've another smaller bed of brassicas planted up from this collection. I'll have to look and see how they are performing.


  1. You have such patience! Planted in August and nothing harvested yet! You've got some very nice looking leaves, though. Do you eat them?

    1. Fairly standard for us Jane to plant in late summer for crops to hopefully survive winter and then crop early the following spring. This way should produce something to eat earlier than relying on crops sown in spring. As my video shows it doesn't always work but that's gardening for you.

      If we can get any decent leaves we will be using them. I'm still hoping for some decent cauliflowers in spring.

  2. That's disappointing indeed Martyn. Brassicas are tricky devils aren't they. From what I remember they were looking really good at the end of the summer. I have some early purple sprouting broccoli in the garden about 4-6 weeks ago several of the plants were suddenly eaten by something. I thought slugs or snails to start with, but looking at the severity of the bite marks it could be pigeons. Brassicas have more problems than anything else I think. I'd love to be able to grow them, but it's always a struggle. The sprouts were disappointing this year as well.

    1. You are right CJ they did look really well at the end of summer and early autumn. I agree brassicas are difficult to grow. Some parts of our plot have club root which is another problem added to those you have mentioned. We've left brassicas uncovered for weeks and thought the pigeons were leaving them alone then suddenly the plants get devastated. Now we play it save and keep them covered all the time.

  3. Brassicas are not the prettiest or the most reliable croppers. I expect a high attrition rate for one reason or another (drought/clubroot/bugs/pigeons). Mind you with healthy bought in plants you are entitled to expect a higher success rate. Agree with you about pigeons suddenly descending on them. Ours have learnt to stand on the net weighing it down so they can peck through it to get the tops of plants! Right now all I have left myself is 4 kale plants but the net is still up. Fingers crossed for your caulis.
    ps What happened to the Tundra?

    1. The tundra finished up in another bed Mal. I'm not sure they are doing any better. Next year will have to be mainly club root resistant brassicas but winter varieties are a bit limited. I'll stick with raising my own plants for summer and winter crops. I used to use that club root powder that was mixed into a paste and brassica plant roots dipped in it. Worked a treat on our plot but not available now.


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