April is a busy month in the vegetable garden with all the sowing and planting of summer crops, but it’s also a time when you need to plan ahead for winter. Without doubt, winter brassicas, such as Brussels sprouts, winter cabbage, savoy, kale and purple sprouting broccoli, are the mainstay of winter vegetables and if you want them on your dinner plate next winter, now’s the time to get started.
The great thing about winter brassicas is they’re hardy and will withstand cold and frosty weather. Many, such as curly and Tuscan kale, can be harvested over several months from autumn until the following spring. Another benefit is they’re very healthy for us and they come at a time when there isn’t much else in the garden, making them an important addition to our diet. To get good strong plants and a decent crop in the winter, all winter brassicas need a long growing season.
The aim is to have fully developed plants by early autumn so that they’ll stand the cold winter weather. A convenient and easy way to raise brassica plants is to start them off in cell trays. This way you can control the numbers of each type and when you plant out in early summer there’s no root disturbance.