Choose a sunny site with deep, firm & moisture-retentive soil
Raised beds or traditional plots are perfect.
Plant 60cm apart and firm in well
Place a brassica collar around base of stem to prevent cabbage root fly (you can do this by cutting a 10cm disc from cardboard, then cut into the centre)
Net against pigeons and cabbage white butterflies – you could make a hoop tunnel approx. 1.5m high, and cover with insect proof mesh/net.
May need earthing up or a stake for strong autumn/winter winds – 50cm tall bamboo cane frame with string tied around works well to protect entire row
During dry spells, water thoroughly once or twice a week. Other than that, leave them to their own devices and they should be fine.
May need earthing up and/or staking in strong wind as they get taller (approx. 1m+ high)
Protect against slugs/snails, especially once the sprouts start to form as they love to munch on the small sprouts!
Cabbage root fly – stunted growth/sudden wilting – the maggots tunnel into the roots to feed and the roots start to rot. Brassica collars and fine mesh netting will help to prevent this in future.
Eaten by caterpillars – use netting to avoid Cabbage White butterfly from laying eggs in the first place. Check foliage (underside and near stems) regularly for small white/green/yellow eggs and wipe off. Pick off caterpillars if you find them.
Club root – stunted growth/discoloured leaves – this is a fungal disease that can’t be remedied so you will need to get rid of affected plants. Plant future brassicas in a different area of the plot to avoid re-infection in subsequent years.
Slugs/snails – keep them well protected as they will happily hide in the foliage and eat the sprouts
Mice/rodents – can eat the sprouts too
Pigeons – will strip leaves bare in just a couple of hours
Harvest in late autumn/winter once the sprouts have formed and are still firm
Harvest individual sprouts from the bottom of the stalk before they start to open up
OR harvest an entire stalk by cutting off at the base - then you can stand the entire stalk in a bucket/container of water and it will store for several weeks in a cool, dry place.
You can eat the cabbage-like leaves at top of plant – use them as you would a savoy cabbage