Gardening expert gives advice on how to water plants
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The joy of the cabbage is the huge variety of crops that can be grown. Due to this, it’s possible to harvest cabbages almost all year round. Cabbages come in many different shapes, sizes and colours, meaning it depends on what type of cabbage you want as to when and how you should sow its seeds.
When to sow cabbage seeds
A popular choice is the Advantage cabbage, this hardy type can be grown throughout the year.
Other varieties such as the Red Jewel are best sown from February to May, so it is important to do your research to find a cabbage that will suit your desired growing timeline.
Cabbages grow best in firm, alkaline to neutral soil, in sunny spots.
They can be sown in trays and left outdoors but they tend to grow best in open ground.
How to grow cabbages
Typically cabbages are first sown in plant pots or trays indoors at 2cm deep and placed in a sunny spot such as a windowsill.
Young cabbages can then be planted outdoors after five weeks or when the plants have five or six true leaves on them.
Before moving the cabbage plants to their final position you need to water them well the day before.
Make sure the lowest leaves of the plants are at ground level in their new holes, then puddle in the young plants by filling the hole with water several times before covering with soil.
Typically cabbages should be spaced 25cm apart with 30cm between rows, this varies between types so double-check the seed spacing requirements on the packet.
Cabbages should be well watered to ensure the soil never dries out.
Equally waterlogged patches can be a problem, in sustained dry weather a thorough soak every 10 days should be sufficient.
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Cabbages should be fed with a nitrogen-rich liquid every two weeks for the best results.
Your cabbage crop should be ready to harvest in about 20 weeks.
To harvest cut the cabbages from the ground with a sharp knife, leaving a 10cm stalk.
These stalks may give you a smaller second crop, score a shallow cross on the stumps to encourage this growth.
Cabbages can fall prey to all sorts of pests, famously caterpillars, slugs and snails can cause problems alongside pigeons, the notorious cabbage root fly and club root.
Be sure to cover your cabbages with insect-proof mesh to prevent caterpillars from laying eggs on your crop.
To avoid club root ensure the plot has good drainage and make the soil more alkaline by adding lime to it if needed.
Simple sawdust or eggshell barriers can hamper snail and slug attacks.
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