Just opened the new issue of British Flower Seed Catalogue and my first find was PSB. I love all things British, but this is a really interesting choice. The reason I asked is purely academic only found out recently that they now have a spring range of cabbage, so that question became, which ones are in season? For me, cabbage always looked the best way to go, especially if you are after a strong flavour or vibrant colour and cabbage always looked like spring (unless it's winter! ).
So, I went to look at the plants and I was surprised by the range - there were so many options. There was a beautiful selection of red and white cabbage, green and yellow squash, bulgrian cucumbers, sprouts of all shapes and sizes, kales, spinach sprouts, rhubarb leaves, kale leaves and even some baby plants, a brilliant variety that will grow into an exciting young plant. The interesting thing was that none of the plants I looked at required any cold freezing at all! They all required hot water on a warm summer day to help germinate.
It's so easy to get things wrong with seed starting plants, so make sure that you are getting your seed from a reliable source, then make sure that the temperature is right for seed sowing. As I've said before, there are a massive range of vegetables, but some varieties are less hardy than others. I have had some very successful crop seasons with some varieties, but not with others, and it took years of trial and error before I got it right for my own garden.
I grew purple sprouting broccoli for my first attempt at sowing seedlings. This is a plant that can grow up to two feet tall and should be planted in pots as opposed to the traditional garden box. I started planting them in a plastic pot that I bought at the local garden store, and they proved a very difficult task to get going. It really helped when I added some compost to the bottom of the pot as these fungi help with germination. When I looked at the plant later, it had beautiful purple sprouts down the side, and they reminded me a lot of a cabbage patch!
Next I planted a couple of cabbage seeds in a hole in the earth, next to a clump of PSB. The results turned out very well! The cabbage leaves went up very easily, the plants hung down well, and the plant grew into a beautiful bed of soft purple greens. I was very happy with the results and I was able to harvest the plants quite easily. If you are going to sowing seeds, this is one easy way to ensure your plants will come up green and ready to start cooking.
It is extremely important that you only use top quality soil when you are starting off with your seedling planting of PSB. I was extremely lucky that I had picked up some loose gravel from my local garden center, which worked perfectly. Then, just mix in a little extra compost to the soil. Remember that you want your seeds to sprout abundantly, so make sure that the soil is moist but not damp. If you do it right, you will soon have healthy plants that are producing lots of wonderful purple sprouts.
When you are preparing the seed bed, you want to water the soil well, and then add some compost to help the soil go to seed. I have always used a watering can, and it worked great. Just don't over-water because you will begin to drown your plants and then you won't have a good selection.
For the final step of preparing your PSB for planting, you will want to take about four months to one year to let the seeds go to harvest. This depends on how fast you grow your plants, and how many seeds you harvest in a given year. When choosing your climate and location for sowing, if you live in an area that has cold winters and mild summers, you will need to take longer to yield your crops. On the other hand, if you live in a warmer climate, you can take shorter to grow your seeds because the heat does not kill seeds as quickly as cool air.