Growing Calabrese For The Hungry Gap
Calabrese is one of my favourite brassicas and it’s a particular treat early in the season when last year’s kale is going to seed, the sprouts have gone, the cauliflower’s aren’t ready and all you have is cabbage!
This video shows how I’m growing early calabrese, planting in autumn, carefully over-wintering and then planting into my salad beds in the polytunnel and cold-frames. By the time the calabrese is competing we are awash wish spring salads.
If you are tempted, plant some calabrese today and plant it with protection in April and you might still get some in June! Don’t forget to plant a few in September, October and maybe even November though!
If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We live in the north west of England, in Lytham St Annes, which I believe is the equivalent of USA Zone 8.
We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and my middle daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot. I do most of the planning and seed starting. We each have our own plots, but we all help each other out.
On Jennie’s plot, we focus on fruit trees, beans, squash, alliums, and brassicas. This video provides an overview https://youtu.be/q1k-2vIoSQ8. I do an update of the allotments, roughly one a week, you can find the tours here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFhKoRR-NiCJn5Y6rZf0RCCqycu3xvofX.
Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self-sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit in season, to give away our huge surplus to friends and family, and to have as much fun as possible.
My wife and I spend about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week on the plots (on average) and we keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work: like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical. We are both newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.
I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease.
I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat as much organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them if I flare up again.