cabbage is a valuable crop at a time of year when the season of many summer
vegetables is over. So almost fifty different cabbages intended to crop during
September, October and November were trialled at Wisley last autumn. Both green
and red cabbages were included. As is often the case with the Wisley trials, it
wasn't just a matter of finding the best varieties but an interesting aspect of
their cultivation was also revealed.
Chickweed is a continuing problem on the trials field and this is especially important in
relation to cabbages as it is thought to harbour cabbage white fly. So the
young plants were planted in small holes in black landscape fabric which was
laid across the planting area. The result was that cabbage white fly was not a
problem. It also turned out to bring a double advantage as planting through the
landscape fabric prevented cabbage root fly infestation and so the use of
collars was not necessary.
The assessment panel also noted that many of the varieties produced heads which
were too large for the home gardener. The rich Wisley soil, and the fact that
the plants were liquid fed with Ammonium nitrate, clearly played a part. But
the panel recommended that to produce more useful heads around 500-750g/18-26oz
in weight the spacing be no greater than 45×45cm/18in×18in or even as close as
38x38cm/15in×15in. It was suggested that ‘Redcap', a naturally very small red
cabbage, could be planted even more closely - 30x30cm/12x12in
panel recommended that some Awards of Garden Merit given at previous trials should
be re-confirmed, some new awards should be a given, and that awards should be
removed from a couple of varieties.
The top varieties included ‘Castello', ‘Consulate', ‘Embassy', ‘Hotspur', ‘Minicole' (above), ‘Noelle' (was
‘Holly'). ‘Picador', ‘Providence', ‘Robin', ‘Rodeo', ‘Roulette', ‘Savoy Serve',
‘Sherwood' and ‘Stallion' plus these three red cabbages: ‘Buscaro', ‘Red Jewel'
(left) and ‘Redcap'.
two red cabbages were considered to have been superseded and it was recommended
that their awards be removed: ‘Red Rookie' and ‘Ruby