Transplanting Cabbages

I don’t know what it is with Brassicas but I always sow too many of them. Maybe, I’m just hedging my bets because I tend to lose a lot of plants each year, either to slugs, caterpillars or mealy bugs. Or maybe my hand just slips when I’m sowing, I’m not sure. All I know is that at this time of year I have a lot of transplanting to do.

Today, it was the turn of my Cabbages (Greyhound). I sowed the seed a few months ago in a small propagator and as soon as the seed had germinated I put the whole thing outside. As luck would have it the next day the whole country benefited from a thick layer of snow. But the Cabbages didn’t seem to mind. I must admit, when I saw the lid covered with 5cm of snow, I was…worried.

Now, they’re bursting out of the propagator and need some more space. Hence the move up into larger, individual pots.

I’ll grow them on in pots in the coldframe until they have 5 or 6 leaves and are about 4 inches high. After that I’ll plant them out in their final position. They’d better hurry up and get big because there’s only so much space in the coldframe and it’s running out fast. The joys of Spring!

20 Comments on “Transplanting Cabbages

  1. I love all the little clay pots. How many do you have? I’m hoping to gradually switch to all clay.

  2. I am a beginner when it comes to growing your own, but I received a tip from a real vegetable expert who told me that if you grow your brassicas later in the season, when the main cabbage fly (or whatever they┬┤re called) season is over, the you avoid most of the problem with plants being gobbled up by tiny local residents instead of the residents who planted them. I should add that I live in Sweden, so maybe the situation is more complicated where you are with different bugs turning up the whole time. Love your blog by the way! All the best. Sarah/Sweden.

  3. Hi Chiot,

    Um… I think I must have about 40 terracotta pots, small and large. I buy one or two every time I go to the garden centre and over the years they pick up this weathered look. I much prefer them to plastic.

  4. Hi there
    I planted too much of everything. I can’t help myself. But whilst I have been carefully watering all our little shoots I have started to panic slightly that I haven’t the faintest idea what to do next. I had read that you transplant the shoots when the first two true leaves appear – what exactly does that mean? They all have two leaves now but will there be ‘truer’ leaves?
    Garden Mum

  5. @Sarah: I’m planning on using a fine-mesh net to put over my cabbage, something like Enviromesh, which is made from UV stabilised polyethylene. It’s supposed to keep the Large White butterfly away from your vegetables and thereby keeping caterpillars away. And if you take good care of the local birds, they should be able to help you out too.

  6. Really like the blog and agree with all the above comments re: terracotta pots, nail varnish (!) and also liking the fingerless gloves (i am quite partial to them!).

    Very informative articles and the photography is always fantastic!

    Keep up the good work!

    Ryan (rcpl20 on facebook and

  7. I’ve used Enviromesh successfully on cabbages but my real success came when I decided to grow red cabbage as the little blighters seem to like them less – and as we as a family like it more, it’s win win all round.

  8. I was also just about to ask about your clay pots when Chiot beat me to it!! I buy mine at Wilkinsons for 29peach. I have also found some in an antiue shop for 50p each.They were the old straight type with no ridge at the top.I transplanted my sweet peas this week – must have abot 38 or so.Also Onions & garlic are in pots so I must have nearly 80 or so pots now. I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years now and am soooo grateful for your advice. Hope the family is well. Oh! whatever happened to mttp?
    Sandra. W Yorkshire.

  9. Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for being a regular reader and sticking with me for 3 years! Wow. What happened to mttp (my teeny tiny plot) well… I moved house, that’s what happened. I had borrowed a piece of land from my neighbour in order to feed my vegetable growing habit. It worked very well for one season and I grew tons and tons of lettuce and tomatoes that year – and shared most of them with said neighbour. But then we moved house and so it was time to give mttp back to it’s rightful owner and start afresh. Fun while it lasted – and I would recommend ‘borrowing’ some land. You can use Landshare (UK only, sorry) to find a piece of land near you

  10. Sarah’s comment has me interested – we’re going to have to cage all our brassicas this year (make them sound dangerous, doesn’t it?) and it would be so much simpler to start them off later and avoid the problem, which is cabbage whites for us. Anybody know if later germination does stop the hungry caterpillars?

  11. I’ve never used terra cotta for potting up seedlings, but I have quite a few small ones sitting around, so I should give it a try next spring when I’m starting seeds again.

    How in the HECK do you keep your nails so nice? My hands are ravaged.

  12. Christina – leather gloves (usually). I’m not one for getting my hands dirty like they do on the TV :)

  13. Hello Bintie here again.

    I want to tell you how good it is to read such well thought-out comments on your blog.

    The gardening group I belong to meets once a week on a Thursday at the Queens Legs but, last evening, there was a problem and we had to wait for ages before the Queens Legs opened and we could get a drink!

    That led to a discussion about cabbages and the best way to grow them.

    Afer a lot of ideas and talk we came to the conclusion that there is no special way to grow brassicas and you should do what works best for you.

    I am sure you will find this both interesting and informative.

    Keep up the good work


  14. Please tell me how you get rid 0f catapillers as they keep nipping at my leafs. Green shoots will never be the same again.

  15. Hi Am,
    There really is no simple way to get rid of cabbage white caterpillars. The only way to do it is to check the plants every day for butterfly eggs and squash them.