27. April 2019

My winter sown cabbage

My lovely cabbage plants look great this year too! The trick is to winter sow them in the polytunnel. I look forward to harvesting my beautiful winter sown cabbage soon!

My winter sowings ready to be replanted soon.


I actually only sow the really early cabbage heads indoors. I do it in January with the hope of planting them in my polytunnel in March, and then I can start harvesting in April. But this sowing is so particular that it almost doesn't count. The winter sowings outdoors are more interesting to me.


Learn more about cabbage: Growing cabbage, from sowing to harvest



Winter sowing in the polytunnel

I winter sow almost all of the other cabbage varieties in my polytunnel. It's really important for me to have many different kinds of cabbages, it makes both the growing and cooking a lot more fun. I fill my little pots with soil and then I sow a few seeds in each pot. Then I leave them in a trough in my polytunnel, with a little bit of snow to provide it with water in winter. The seeds germinate really well in spring. Those of you who don't have a greenhouse or a polytunnel can also use a conservatory, a pallet collar with a lid or a plastic trough.



The good thing about winter sown cabbage is that it adapts so nicely to both cold and light, in a completely different way than the fragile indoor sowings. I simply don't need to harden my plants (getting them used to the outdoor climate), they just love being where they are. If it were to get colder suddenly, they will be prepared.


Read more about cabbage: Growing pointed cabbage


Små plantor av broccoli. Winter sown cabbage.

These plants are absolutely perfect, and they don't take up much space either.


Många små kålplantor i en tät matta. Winter sown cabbage, many little plants.

The trough with the cabbages is suspended in the air. So much can grow on such a small space, it's amazing!


How much space do I need?

You need a lot of space to pre-grow cabbage. Sooner or later, every single plant will want to have a pot of its own. I replant my cabbage two times to get nice and large cabbage plants too. When you winter sow cabbage though, it's a lot easier to fit all of them. You can put them outside in protected spots after a while. Which means I can sow even more of course!

The winter sown cabbage can be harvested in spring and early summer in my polytunnel (for example German turnip and regular turnip) while other varieties should grow outdoors. I start planting my cabbage outside in May when I think they are large enough.


Read more: Why is my cabbage so leggy? 


Leggy cabbage

Why does the cabbage I grow indoors become so long and leggy? Well, it's all about the light. It's too dark inside and the plants reach for the light. And on top of that, there's the heat which makes the plants grow really quickly. Not a good combination. Try providing your cabbage with the light it needs while also keeping it cool. A leggy cabbage sowing might be salvaged if you plant it a bit deeper when you move it to a pot, but there's always the risk that the stalk will break or get damaged. If they are really damaged, you might as well redo the sowing. Good luck with your winter sown cabbage!
/Sara Bäckmo


One response to “My winter sown cabbage”

  1. Gina says:

    I really appreciate your information about cabbages in the plastic trays outdoors in winter! Looking forward to trying next year.

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