|Cabbages I picked up in Sharjah plant souk to see how they develop|
|The abundant, lush Pak Choi from last season|
Preparing the soil
Brassicas are very hungry feeders and need lots and lots of nutrients and moisture-retaining humus for healthy growth. Prepare your soil by adding lots of compost/well-rotted manure. During growth, especially as heads begin to form, top up with more compost or feed with a good, all-purpose liquid feed.
Start cabbage and cauliflower in seed trays filled with 50:50 compost and potting soil. Direct sow the Pak Choi and radishes. You can also put cabbage and cauliflower directly into the soil. But I just find that sowing in seed trays gives me more time to think about final planting spot, spacing etc. Make sure they are well watered, at least once every day and get a minimum of two hours of sunlight.
|The seeds I am sowing|
Plant the seedlings with at least 8-12 inches between plants and rows in soil that has already been prepared. So I have a rectangular grow bed about 3.5 feet x 3 feet. I will have a row of cauliflower a row of cabbages and another of Pak Choi, all with eight inches between plants and about a foot between rows. For fun and quicker gratification, I am going to throw in a handful of french radish seeds along the edges.
You can use rectangular pots or shallow circular tubs. I find the cosmoplast tubs you can buy in supermarkets quite useful. Just drill a couple of drainage holes in the bottom ad you are all set. The good thing about these is that you don't need tons of soil to fill them all the way up.
|A rough idea about how my brassica bed will hopefully look!|
In general, I don't like knowing too much about the critters that can destroy your plants. Especially when I am growing them for the first time. Read more here about the nasties and how to fight them. Arm yourself with cabbage collars, insecticidal soap, Neem oil, a powerful hose, a torch and an inexhaustible will to fight. And if you are squeamish about squishing slugs and caterpillars with your bare hands, well then, good luck to you!