Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Growing Cabbages from Sowing to Harvest

July 30th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

A vegetable plot isn’t complete without cabbage. Shredded, stir-fried, steamed or baked, there’s not much you can’t do with one! And with a little planning it’s even possible to enjoy cabbages year round.

Read on or watch the video to find out more about growing cabbages.

 

Types of Cabbage

From green to Savoy, there’s a fantastic range of cabbage varieties to choose from, offering different shapes, colours and textures.

Cabbages are grouped according to when they’re harvested. Spring cabbages are ready from mid to late spring. Summer cabbages crop from summer into early autumn, while autumn cabbages and winter varieties cover the remainder of the year. Savoy cabbages have a long harvest period, stretching from autumn all the way through winter to early spring.

 

Where to Grow Cabbage

Many cabbage varieties will tolerate below-freezing temperatures. But for the healthiest growth they need an open, sunny site and rich soil. A bed improved with compost or well-rotted manure is ideal, and will appreciate a further boost in the form of an organic general-purpose fertiliser raked into the ground at planting time.

In a traditional crop rotation cabbages follow on from peas or beans, which naturally lock nitrogen away at their roots. Left in the ground when the crop is cleared, these roots will help to feed the cabbages that follow.

Unless your soil is naturally alkaline, sprinkle garden lime onto the soil either after you’ve dug it over, or rake it in at planting time.

 

How to Sow Cabbage

Cabbages may be started off in an outdoor seedbed to transplant once they’re bigger, or under cover into modules or pots, which also enables an earlier start to the season.

Prepare seedbeds by treading on the ground in a shuffling motion before raking to a fine tilth for sowing.

When you sow depends on what type of cabbage you’re growing. Summer cabbages are the first to be sown, in mid spring, followed by autumn and winter types later on in spring. Spring cabbages are sown from the second half of summer to harvest the following year.

Mark out drills about half an inch (1cm) deep and 6 inches (15cm) apart. You can use a string line to ensure nice, straight rows. Sow the seeds thinly along the row then cover over and water. Keep the soil moist. Thin the seedlings once they’re up to one every couple of inches (5cm).

Under cover, start seeds off in plug trays of all-purpose potting soil. Sow two to three seeds per cell about half an inch (1cm) deep. After they’ve germinated, thin to leave just one seedling per cell. Or sow into trays or pots then transfer the best seedlings into individual cells or pots to grow on.

 

Transplanting Cabbage

You-can-sow-cabbages-in-soil-trays-or-pots-Transplant-cabbages-when-they-have-at-least-three-or-four-adult-leaves

The seedlings are ready to transplant about six weeks after sowing, by which time they should have grown at least three to four adult leaves. Make sure spring cabbages are transplanted no later than early autumn, so they can establish before winter bites.

Plant your seedlings into prepared ground. Leave about 18 inches (45cm) between each seedling. Additional rows of spring or summer cabbage should be set around the same distance apart, while autumn and winter types need a little more space between rows – about 2 feet (60cm) is ideal.

Firm your cabbages into the ground well, then water generously to settle the soil around the roots. Seedlings transplanted from a seedbed should be lifted up with as much soil around their roots as possible. This avoids unnecessary root disturbance, helping the seedlings to quickly adapt to their new growing positions.

 

Caring for Cabbage

Cabbages are prone to attack from pigeons and caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly, also known as cabbageworms. Wire mesh will protect seedlings against pigeons, but to stop butterflies from laying their eggs on the leaves it’s best to use netting during the summer months.

Another clever technique is to grow nasturtiums close by as a sacrificial crop, also known as a trap crop. Caterpillars prefer nasturtiums, so they’ll be more likely to eat these instead of your cabbages. Mint can be used to help deter flea beetles.

Continue to water cabbages as they grow. Ensure they have all the space and nutrients they need by carefully weeding between plants with a hoe or by hand. Winter cabbages are very hardy but during exceptionally cold weather they may need some form of cold protection such as a row cover tunnel or cloche. In very cold regions, growing cabbages in a greenhouse or cold frame is a great way to guarantee a winter-safe crop.

 

How to Harvest Cabbage

Use a sharp knife to cut your cabbages once the heads have firmed up. Savoy and other winter cabbages benefit from a light frost to bring out their flavour. Spring cabbages may be harvested young and loose as greens for repeated cutting, or left to grow on to form a tight head of leaves. Either way is totally delicious!

If you have a variety you’d particularly recommend, or perhaps another tip for growing cabbages, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

High Yields: 6 Proven Strategies to Boost Garden Harvests

February 22nd, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Now is the time to start planning for the growing season!

A well thought garden will provide you with an abundance of harvests. So here are a few tips and strategies to have a super prolific garden.

High-Yield plants

The first step toward bigger harvests is to choose High-Yield Plants and crops that are really quick to grow. Good examples of fast growers include radishes and lettuces. Herbs, spring onions and beets are also good options. High yielding vegetables include courgettes, potatoes and tomatoes.

Fruits are often really High-Yielding for the space and effort they take to grow. Once established, apples, raspberry and black currants can all produce astonishing heavy crops.

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Grow Vertically

There is never shortage of vertical space and by growing upwards you can pack a lot more into your High-Yield garden. Cucumbers, climbing peas and beans are just a few examples of crops who will help you fill your space.

Vertical vegetables are also easier to pick. Avoid shadowing smaller crops though, by growing vertical ones.

You can even make use of hanging baskets and planters by attaching them to sturdy walls and fences to pack even more into your garden.

 

Stagger Spacing

If your space is tight, get clever on how you space larger plants, such as pumpkins and tomatoes. Instead of planting them in a row, you can stagger rows for more efficient use of space.

 

Start interplanting

Grow two crops in the same piece of ground by mixing slow-growing and fast maturing vegetables. The quick to grow vegetables will be ready to harvest before the slower growing ones. You could put carrots and parsnips in the same row. You could also alternate closely spaced rows of slow growers and fast growers; for example lettuce set in between corn. Take care not to disturb the slower crop, when its time to harvest the quicker one.

stagger-spacing-and-interplanting-for-prolific-harvest

Grow in Succession

Keep the harvest coming by planting in succession. As soon as one is finished plant a follow-on crop. This way you can grow two or more vegetables in the same piece of ground each and every season. A typical succession plant could be tomatoes following early carrots or squashes following lettuce, these ones can then be followed by over wintering garlic for example. Watch our video for more examples.

Growing in succession requires quick reactions. Use fast maturing varieties to give yourself the best chances to succeed. It often works best when you can start crops in pots or module trays, so they are ready to plant out as soon as the first crop is done.

Top up the soil with a layer of compost between crops to keep plants well fed and happy.

 

Extend the season

Don’t forget to extend the season to enjoy more growing time. Hub houses, cold frames or cloches will all raise the temperature around plants. Row covers for example will help to warm and dry out the soil in Spring, allowing sowing or early vegetables, such as salads.

Similarly placing cover over the ground later in the year can extend the season just long enough for one final crop of something like turnip.

 

 

These are just a few tips and ideas to start planning your growing season. If you have any top tips that you can offer us let us know in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page

 

Growing Chard from Sowing to Harvest

September 28th, 2016 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Growing chard - 'Vulcan' chardChard has many benefits – it looks lovely, it’s easy to grow and it’s extremely versatile when it comes to cooking. If you’re intrigued by chard then be sure to read this post. We offer tips on sowing, growing and enjoying a crop of chard. Read this post to discover how wonderful growing chard can be. 

  • Swish chard and perpetual spinach are very easy to grow, this makes them a great choice for beginner gardeners. If you’d like a no-fuss crop, then get started on these.
  • Chard has broad, thick steams which are available in a vibrant variety of colours; white, yellow and pink. Chard if great for brightening up the vegetable garden.
  • Both chard and perpetual spinach love sunny, open spaces in the garden. The soil for these crops should be moist and fertile, ensuring strong productivity.
  • Plants can stay in the same position for many months. Therefore you should ensure that no other crops require this space.
  • A week before sowing your chard seeds, scatter general purpose organic fertilizer. Following this, rake the soil to a fine tilth.
  • Sowing chard seeds can be done any time from spring to late summer. You can often squeeze in a quick late-season crop.
  • When you’re ready to sow, mark out seed drills with a trowel. They should be around an inch deep, with 16 inches between rows.
  • Sow larger seeds one by one, spacing them around 1-2 inches apart. Cover these with soil and water along the rows.

These tips will assist with the sowing process of chard. If you’d like to find out more about growing and harvesting chard, be sure to watch the instructional video below. Let us know if you have any tips for growing chard.

GrowVeg – Growing Chard from Sowing to Harvest

Growing Chard from Sowing to Harvest