Purple Sprouting Cabbage (PSB) is a tasty, healthy vegetable that is in season throughout the year. Full of iron and good fats it's also very nutritious. Easy to find and low cost both in the supermarket and online. In fact, the great news for consumers is that cabbage is now available in capsule form.
There are two different ways to prepare purple sprouting broccoli or cabbage. The first is by sowing and then planting. The second is by seed. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your purpose. I will highlight these below.
Sowing PSB is much easier than sowing other vegetables. All you need is about one square foot of land about twice as wide and long as your cabbage patch. Purple sprouting cabbage can be planted out in full sun. If using container plants make sure they get at least six hours of sunlight. You can also use mulch to help block some of the heat in summer.
Harvesting purple sprouting cabbage is a little bit trickier than harvesting other greens. While you want to leave the white and purple buds intact, they need to be removed as soon as possible. To harvest them quickly place them on a rack or in a shallow dish of water. Allow them to drain naturally before picking.
When you pick, ensure you do not break off any inner leaf buds. This is especially important if you are using soy sauce to season the cabbage. Simply take the white and purple sprouts off the outer leaves. Again if using a rack or deep dish be careful not to break off any of the inner leaves. After removing all of the leaves keep them in a large zip bag. The stems will fill up with water and become slimy.
When you are ready to sow you should wear gloves, a face mask and a face shield. These will prevent you from inhaling the dust and soil when picking off the small seeds. Be sure not to wear your gloves during the dry weather. After sowing, you can remove the seeds and dry the sprouts for about two weeks. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain you may want to cover the tops of your pots to keep the moisture in.
For those who are new to cabbage growing, the best time for sowing is spring. Be sure to select a location that receives full sun. The depth of the seed bed is going to determine how much water and nutrients your plants will receive. When you are ready to plant your seeds wash the area thoroughly. You do not want to walk on it as this can ruin the healthy growth of the plants. Once you have planted your cabbage shoot, just keep an eye on the plants to ensure they continue to grow.
When the plants begin to grow, you will notice the plants will change color. This is caused by the nutrients being broken down by the roots. The purple veins on the leaves will start to appear. The growth pattern of the cabbage should be closely watched. The flowering season for purple cabbage should occur during the spring.
In dry weather you will notice that the leaves will shrink. You should check with an expert before you decide to use this type of plant in your flower or vegetable garden as the leaves will need to be replaced. When sowing seeds, you can expect the plants to grow about 0.5cm deep, however in dry weather you may find that they grow much deeper.
When choosing a PSB to plant, you have to consider the type of plant growth that you will get from it. Your choice should depend on whether you have a large variety of species or not. If you don't have a lot of species in your garden, then a blend of both PSB anduda sativa may be suitable for you. Both these plants will thrive in the same conditions. When planting with PSB, you should leave the seeds in the soil for a couple of days before planting to allow the soil to get acclimatized to the seedlings.
When planning to plant seeds in PSB you should keep the depth in mind so that the plant gets the most growing area possible. Also take into consideration any drainage issues that you may encounter when growing season comes around. Once the seeds are planted, you should keep them well watered. This means putting the water in the soil at the correct depth, not over deep. You should also check with an expert on how often to feed the plants so that you do not over feed the plants, which will also encourage healthy root growth.