How to plant brassicas

Do it:

Apr, May, Jun, Jul

Takes just:

20 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Mar, Apr, May, Dec, Jan, Feb, Sep, Oct, Nov

Brassicas form the mainstay of the vegetable plot all year round in the form of summer and winter cabbage, cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, calabrese and Brussels sprouts. Whether you've raised your own brassicas from seed or opted for ready-grown seedlings, spring and early summer is the time to plant them out. Raising them from seed is cheaper but adds a few weeks to the process - so if this is for you, it's time to get sowing!

You will need

  • Young brassica plants
  • Garden line or string and canes
  • Trowel
  • Seed trays without drainage holes

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Harden off greenhouse-raised plants by standing them in a sheltered spot outdoors for a week before planting. Before putting into the ground, make sure the compost around the seedling is moist by standing pots in trays of water for an hour. This will help roots establish quickly.

Use a length of bamboo to keep rows straight when planting. Take out a hole large enough to accommodate the roots of the young plants, using a trowel. Depending on variety, aim to plant at 30cm - 45cm spacings.

Knock the plant from its pot and set in the planting hole so that the top of the rootball is level with the surrounding soil. Use the trowel to fill in around the roots with soil. Firm around roots with your fingers and water well.

Label the plant or row, then remove line. Water well while plants establish, and cover with fleece or fine netting to keep off cabbage white butterflies and birds.

If slugs and snails are a problem, place a thick layer of eggshells around each plant to protect it until it becomes established.

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All brassicas like rich, hearty soil, so manure the ground well the autumn before planting.

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