Caring for your plants
It can be difficult to know exactly what is best for your plants, especially if you have never bought bare-rooted field-grown plants via a courier before! Here is our 4 stage general guide to making the most of your plants with some useful tips to maximise their health and growth...
1 Preparing your plot:
Make sure you have enough space in your plot ready for when your plants arrive.
Well-watered and nutrient-rich soil will give your plants the best possible chance of thriving.
Interplanting with other types of plants such as beetroots, herbs, onions, potatoes can also be good for helping your brassicas do well.
2 Once receiving the plants in the post:
Once your plants arrive, remove them from the packaging as soon as possible else they may suffer from drying out or going mouldy.
If you have time, plant them straight away in healthy and well-watered soil. This is much better than putting them in a pot or tray.
It is advisable NOT to place them in a bucket of water, this will only kill off the fine white root hairs. If you do not have time, heeling them in can be just as good. This is a process of digging a narrow sloping trench in a shady area that is deep enough to encompass the entire root system. Cover the roots over with soil and firm it down. Water them well. You can then plant them at your convenience within 7-10 days.
Plant around 30-60 cm apart depending on the size of the cabbage head you want. It is also a suggestion to plant as deep as the first leaf, so that wind won’t be an issue.
Raising pH levels above 6.5 is essential. Placing sea sand or volcanic rock dust in the bottom of the hole when planting will lessen the likelihood of club root disease.
There may be some holes in leaves when they arrive. This is because we rarely use pesticides, if at all. These leaves will die off and rejuvenate over time.
3 The first few days:
As your plants have been taken out of the ground and sent in the post for a day or two, they won’t be looking their best, potentially a little dry or floppy. This is completely expected and over the next few days after planting, they should perk up and be restored to full health. These old variety plants are very resilient, having been exposed to all weather conditions in the field before coming to you. If the centre is still green they should recover well.
A potential option could be to cover your newly sown plants with a fleece to stop them dehydrating before they take root.
4 Continued care:
Continue to make sure your plants are watered and have enough nutrients. Feeding your soil and plants with fertilisers or other feeds is crucial for productive crops. There is also a wide range of preventative measures available such as nets, and non-chemical sprays that help to reduce the likelihood of pests or diseases.
We sell all year round on many different types of brassicas including spring cabbage, leeks, savoy and kales so it is possible to stagger planting at different times in order to maintain a continued supply during winter and minimise total crop failures from extreme heat for example. You can even fertilise a few to bring them on quicker. When cutting off your harvested crop, you can cut a cross in the cut stem and this should encourage many more leaves to grow in its place.