~ Seed for CABBAGES ~
Cabbages are grouped depending when they are ready to eat, and you plant them at different times.
- Spring Cabbages (sow the seed in late summer / early autumn)
- Summer Cabbages (sow the seed in spring)
- Winter Cabbages (sow the seed in spring/early summer)
The spring and summer cabbages are smaller & more tender, but the winter ones have longer to grow and so are much bigger.
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.
Cabbage - ready to eat year round
Paul & Becky's Asturian Tree Cabbage RARE
This unusual Spanish heirloom has absolutely enormous leaves - and it looks like a Kale rather than a cabbage; it makes no head, just a tall 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’.
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!) £
Cabbages - ready to eat in Spring
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) £
Traditionally used for Spring Greens - plant at 8" apart, you can take alternate plants in March as loose-headed 'spring greens', leaving the rest to make heads in April.
Order CaAp - 1g (200 seed) £
Cabbages - ready to eat in SUMMER
Golden Acre Summer Cabbage
This 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, and an excellent flavour. (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, and you can harvest at that useful period before the main summer crops get going.
Order CaGo - 2g (lots of seed) £
Greyhound Summer/Autumn Cabbage
A traditional compact cabbage ideal for smaller plots, with not too many outer leaves and a nice dense conical head. Normally sown in spring for an early summer crop, this received the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 2002.
A much-loved old variety that is suited to sowing and harvesting over a long period.
Order CaGH - 2g (lots of seed) £
Cabbages - ready to eat in AUTUMN
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
A wonderful heirloom from 1899, this is a large cabbage for harvest in Autumn. The heads are 2 to 3 kg in size, and the pale flesh is tender and crisp.
Named after the town of Enkhuisen in Holland, where it is famous for its excellent flavour and long-keeping in storage.
Order CaEk - 2g (400 seed) £
Cabbages - ready to eat in WINTER
'Quintal de Alsace' Large Winter Cabbage
Also known as the "Hundredweight cabbage", which is a medieval measurement equivalent to 50 kilograms! That's an exaggeration - realistically we think about 7 kg is the upper limit of what you should expect, but that's still a great yield.
The solid heart is well covered by the outer blue-grey leaves and so stands well in cold weather. We really like this historical variety that has been relied on for generations to provide fresh greens throughout the winter.
Sow spring or early summer - huge!
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 turnips.
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.
To get the seeds out, 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.