Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cabbages and Cauliflowers


Photo by Helen



Cabbages & Cauliflowers

Autumn in Oz in the cooler areas is perfect to plant out seedlings of cabbages and cauliflowers, as the temperature is starting to drop it's a great  time to get these cool season vegetables off to a good start.

Now, you can go and buy seedlings from your local nursery, or like me raise some for yourself in a seed punnet.  Whether you grow full sized cabbages and cauliflowers or miniature ones is entirely up to you.  I prefer to grow the mini variety as I find that is enough for two people to eat.  
Photo by Helen

You need to remember that although these plants are a cool season crop they still do need a fair amount of sunshine and 5-6 hours would be right for them. Before you plant your seedlings out, you will need to do some soil preparation. Dig the site over and add plenty of good compost and well rotted manure or any combination that will enrich the soil.

Now you're ready for planting. Plant your seedlings and firm the soil around them. Water in well and you can at this point water them with a diluted liquid feed.  Don't forget to feed you plants at regular intervals in their growing period.

One of the pest for cabbage and cauliflowers is the white cabbage butterfly, which can lay a mass of eggs on the underside of the leaves and soon those caterpillars will make light work of eating them. To be wholly organic, which I am, I put some hoop supports over my planting bed and cover this with a net that is insect proof. By the time the plants have got big enough to reach the top of the net, the butterflies will have gone because the temperatures will be too cold for them.

Photo by Helen
When your cauliflowers start to form those lovely white heads, don't forget to bend their leaves over the top to give them some protection from the weather and keep those heads nice and white.

It's worth the effort growing some of these for the sweet taste of fresh cabbage and crisp cauliflowers.

Go on plant yourself some for a winter crop this year.