Savoy Cabbage

Savoy CabbageThe Savoy cabbage is a very popular variety; it is mellow-flavoured and cooks well. The loose, full head of crinkled leaves may be seen in most greengrocery shops, but it is the home-grown ones that have the best flavour. To improve the flavour it should be touched by frost, which is generally not a problem as this is a winter cabbage. They do best in heavy loams and it is usual to plant them in the plot where early potatoes or peas have been growing, it will then not be necessary to add farmyard manure to the soil. Fork or rake the soil well and add fish manure at 3 oz. (90g) to the sq. yd. Lime should be applied as a top dressing unless the soil is already chalky. A top-dressing of dried blood should be given in early August just to boost the nitrate level.

Sowing
March is the time to prepare a seedbed in a warm position in the vegetable garden. A second sowing can be made a little later in April. Tread the bed firm then rake it to make the soil fine. Drills about ½ in. (12mm) deep and 8 in. (203mm) apart should be made where the seeds are then sown thinly. Do not use all the seed at this sowing for a second sowing should be made mid-April and the final sowing at the end of the month. For a good succession of Savoy throughout winter, start with the earlier maturing varieties and end with the late varieties.

Planting out
Plant out the early varieties at the end of June and the later ones at the end of July. The rows should be 2 ft. (60cm) apart and allow 2 ft. (60cm) between each plant. However, if the varieties are dwarf ones they can be planted as close as 1½ ft. (45cm). with only 15 in. (381mm) between the rows. Use a dibber to make a good size hole, after planting them firmly in the ground, water in well.

General Care
Keep down the weeds; watch out for pests such as greenfly, whitefly, and caterpillars. A good way to protect the crop is to add a barrier of fine netting or fleece to keep the flying insects off the plants.

Harvesting
Cut the Savoy’s for use when they are fully hearted. Do not be tempted to cut until the hearts are quite firm otherwise the flavour will be inferior. Always remove the stalks from the ground after cutting the heads, as they will continue to take up nutrients from the soil, robbing the soil of its richness.