~ Seed for CABBAGES ~
Cabbages are named after when they are ready to eat:
- Spring Cabbages (sow in late summer / early autumn)
- Summer Cabbages (sow in spring)
- Winter Cabbages (sow in spring/early summer)
The earlies are smaller & more tender, but the winter ones have longer to grow and so are much bigger. They also come ready when there is less choice of vegetables to harvest in the garden.
Rather than offer a huge array of similar types for
you to try to choose between,
we have instead selected a couple of good varieties from each group.
These are listed in order of harvest: from Spring Cabbages at the top through to Winter Cabbages at the bottom of the page,
and starting with a rare semi-perennial tree cabbage .
Paul & Becky's Asturian Tree Cabbage RARE
This fantastic Spanish heirloom has absolutely enormous leaves - and it grows very much like a kale: a 2 foot stalk with a loose head on top. You simply take the huge leaves a few at a time to eat all year round.
You can even keep it going for two years or more! Just cut it back when it tries to flower - it makes new growth, ideal for fresh cabbage in spring during the ‘hungry gap’.
Cooks like a cabbage, rather than a kale, so you can use it as cooked greens just as normal. But Tree Cabbage like this is also a key ingredient in the classic Spanish dish 'Caldo Gallego' - which is a delicious leaf, bean, and meat stew.
Grows like cabbage, harvested like a kale . Very, very rare. Can be a short-lived perennial vegetable if the flowers are removed as they form.
Order CaPB - small packet of 0.5g (approx 50 seed - a lot of cabbages!) £
de Louviers' Spring Cabbage
A special variety from France. Chosen because very quick-growing (the name means 'Early Louviers Cabbage'), traditionally it is sown in autumn for harvest early the following spring. We like the pointy green heads!
This particular variety is dual purpose and can also be sown very successfully in spring for harvest from August onwards.
Pointy, quick. Sow autumn or spring.
Order CaPL - 2g (400 seed) £
Golden Acre Summer Cabbage
This new addition to the catalogue was chosen from our 2010 trials. It's a really good summer cabbage that makes tight round heads that are a very attractive golden-green colour. (The colour hasn't shown so well in the photo, but a row of them in the garden really does stand out glowingly.)
Sow relatively early in spring to harvest at that difficult period before the main summer crops get going. The compact heads are dense, with an excellent flavour.
Order CaGo - 2g (lots of seed) £
Hatif' Late Summer / Early Autumn Green Cabbage
This is a great round cabbage with heavy, tight, crisp, perfectly ball-shaped heads.
It is sown in spring and ready to eat from late summer on into autumn.
It's a really good & reliable, tightly wrapped green cabbage.
Order CaNH- 2g (450 seed) £
Tete Noir' Late Summer/ Early Autumn Red Cabbage
This reliable red variety is a round-headed cabbage we have chosen for late summer (or even early autumn) harvest.
It looks great shredded in salads or coleslaw as the deep red surface contrasts with the white flesh inside. Sow in spring for use mid-summer onwards.
We have found that red cabbages seem to be somewhat less affected by caterpillars, perhaps because they show up more to the birds on the red background?
Firm red heads, short stem.
Order CaRT - 2g (400 seed) £
'Glory of Enkhuisen' Autumn Cabbage
An old heirloom, this is a large round mid-season cabbage from the seed company of "Sluis & Groot" in 1899.
Named after the coastal town of Enkhuisen in Holland, where it is prized for its flavour and good-keeping qualities.
Order CaEk - 2g (400 seed) £
'Quintal de Alsace' Large Winter Cabbage
The other name for this is "Hundredweight", which is a medieval measurement, these days equivalent to 48.95 kilograms!
We have to confess however that it is a slight exaggeration - the description has clearly been improved over the centuries by generations of seedmerchants - but it really does make very large cabbages for use over winter. (Realistically, we think about 7 kg is the upper limit of what you should expect.)
The solid heart is well covered by the outer blue-grey leaves and so stands well in cold weather. This is a historical variety that has been relied on for generations – we've found references to it being grown at least 150 years ago in many countries.
Sow spring or early summer
Order CaQA - 2g (400 seed) £
‘Piacenza’ Savoy Winter Cabbage
If you've not grown them before, 'Savoy' cabbages are the ones with a bobbly texture to the leaves.
And we’ve found a really good one now - a cold-resistant savoy from the town of Piacenza (in the Po Valley of Italy), with bright green leaves which are very finely savoyed.
It makes a good round head, which is nice and tight to protect against mud and insects.
Green savoy, sow in spring
Order CaPS - 2g (300 seed) £
Saving Cabbage Seed is EASY:
We would really like to encourage you to have a go at saving seed from the vegetable brassica family - that's the cabbages, kales, oriental vegetables, broccoli and turnip family.
We know many of you save obvious vegetables like tomato and lettuce seed, but we've noticed that in the past people shied away from doing the biennial vegetables (plants that flower in their second year).
More people are saving brassica seed now - and we'd like to encourage you to try it too: its incredibly easy, and you get so much seed, you'll have loads to give away.
There's really no need for example to buy Cabbage seed from us every year at all. You just set aside a patch of good plants, and let them flower. (You will need to slash the head of ball-types with a knife to let the seed stalk out.) Make sure that you've got a reasonable number, that they are healthy, and that no other sorts are flowering nearby that might cross with them. You'll get lots of seeds in August.
How to actually get the seeds out:
Here's Kate processing some Pak Choi.
You do need to make sure they aren't crossed with anything, as many of the brassicas (cabbages, cauliflowers etc)
will cross with each other very readily. See the seedsaving pages at the bottom left hand side of this website for more infomation.
Flower stalks from a good-sized population are hung up to dry,
then broken open over a bowl (or old baby bath in this case!).
The bits of pod are screened out with a sieve or a soil riddle
- but you can instead winnow them off in a breeze pretty easily if you prefer.
Step-by-step, highly detailed instructions are here on our new brassica-seedsaving page.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.