Short brassicas

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Monika
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Short brassicas

Postby Monika » Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:20 pm

I am now in the process of planning which brassicas to grow for 2020. After the cabbage white onslaught last summer, I am contemplating growing them all under netting from seedling stage to harvesting (there is a short article about it in the current KG), but the max height will probably have to be 1m/3', presumably too low for calabrese or kalettes/flower sprouts. Or are there any low-growing varieties of these?
We don't want cabbages or cauliflowers because one of them is far too much for two little oldies. Kale would be a second choice and I do know there are short varieties of these.
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Westi
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Westi » Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:46 pm

There is a dwarf red curly kale available, but mine is not dwarf this year - must have liked the ruddy rain! But it is still only about 2 1/2' & you won't have so many plants to protect & they are easy to sort out a method. Deffo got to protect them from planting though, they are a magnet for cabbage whites. I put the final height structures on from the start so can get under to weed when they are tiny.
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Stephen » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:29 am

This idea is very interesting. My lack of success with brassicas annoys me, so trying another approach is a great idea.
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Elmigo
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Elmigo » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:01 am

I'm following along here. For my brassicas I just bought a couple of yellow PVC pipes that are used for leading electric wires. They are about 4m in length and very flexible and if I stick them in the soil they will form a tunnel of 1m in height and little more than 1m in width when putting a net over it. I wonder if that's large enough! I honestly never had kale growing larger than 2 feet but then again, I was still growing in containers last year.
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Monika
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Monika » Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:11 pm

I really wanted to grow flower sprouts/kalettes but the are too tall of my intended structure, so I have now decided on dwarf kale and short calabrese with a few kohlrabi round the outside. 'Normal' kale would be taller than 1m, growing in the ground, I would think, elmigo.
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Westi
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Westi » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:28 pm

The first time I had seen kalettes was from Pawty's post & thought that sounds interesting. (I suspect she is a full time grape grower by now). Now I also hadn't realised they were quite as tall as they can be, although as I've since found not every year. Year one though was runner beans canes in a square with netting tied over it. But they were pretty happy & I had to keep raising the netting, then had to be creative with filling the gap left at the bottom so ended up with a very creative; but not pretty structure but lots of kalettes which I grow each year now. I've not had a repeat of the height of year one, this years are about 3' high, but very productive.
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby robo » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:19 am

You won’t keep every cabbage white of your brassicas by knetting the buggers always find away in then again if you have one leaf touching the knetting they will lay through the knetting
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Monika
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Monika » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:33 pm

Interesting post about the height of kalettes, Westi. I also found in the past that the green ones always appeared to be stronger plants and more prolific than the purply red ones.
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Westi
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Westi » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:10 pm

I am moving to the Purple ones, they are pretty, taste the same, less attractive to the slimly things & well shorter & controllable Monika. I was down today thinking of this post & I can recommend Red Russian dwarf kale if interested. It starts off really untidy & uninspiring & drops leaves then it takes off when it gets the weather it likes. It starts off as this single stem looking weak, but then gets all these off shoots that are really thick stemmed so you can snap the whole stem off for the leaves & then more come & only about 1' or so high & wide. There are only 2 of us & I get enough harvest each week from these, now they are happy, to do whatever I fancy!
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Westi
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Re: Short brassicas

Postby Westi » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:14 pm

I found these guys are the biggest challenge, one year good, next OK'ish, then total disaster. This year winter ones 1/2 & 1/2. (Cabbage, Kale, Kalettes fine but Cauliflowers total rubbish), however the summer Cauli's were exceptional & spotted a pretty good head on a Calabrese I rescued from outside that was late up & put it in the tunnel as a wee unidentifiable 'brassica'!

Always good to put a bit of a location on your profile as then growers on here near your area will be able to give you loads of advice on varieties that suit your particular area best! I have to grow club root resistant, as it has invaded my plot, so limited selections for me but choice is growing very quickly & most doing fine! Take on the challenge - totally worth it despite the failures!
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