Les’s Patch column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

Cabbage from the allotment can be enjoyed all year round.

Cabbage will grow in most soils, but a neutral soil (with a pH of seven), rich in well rotted organic matter, manure, etc, is best, and it is very important to select a site in full sun.

Buy young plants from garden centres or nurseries during September and plant out at least two feet (60cm) apart making sure to firm in well.

Water well and cover the plants with garden fleece for four weeks which helps them to settle without being affected by cold winds.

On the site remove annual weeds before they set seed, using a Dutch hoe, and perennial weeds should be dug out so that no roots are left.

Keep a sharp lookout for caterpillars and cabbage aphids.

White, puckered marks on the surface of a leaf mean there are aphids underneath. Just squash them with your fingers. Remove any dead leaves to prevent fungus disease.

Harvest the cabbage as required when the hearts are firm to the touch. Unharvested cabbages will stay in good condition for several weeks in the ground.

It is beneficial to plant winter cabbage in the area where early peas grew. Cut the dead pea plants off and leave the roots in the soil as cabbage will certainly benefit from the nitrogen left by the peas.

In dry weather, for the first couple of weeks the cabbage plants need plenty of water while they get established.

Club root can be a problem so if this has occurred in the past lime the soil and grow the plants on in five inch pots. This will establish a good root system and the plants should be less likely to be affected by club root as it usually affects plants in the very early stages of growth while the roots are small.

This method of growing plants on in pots have proved very successful against club root.

Cabbage root fly can be another problem so by leaving the fleece on the plants this will also stop the pigeons feeding on the cabbage.

As summer moves into autumn gardens can begin to look tired, but there are plants to brighten things up.

Rudbeckias will give a good sunshine feel when borders start to look weary and patio pots begin to flag.

They burst into bloom with a spectacular show of yellow and orange flowers bringing colour to a garden and providing plenty of cut flowers for the home.