Cabbage 'January King', although a French heirloom, is also considered to be a traditional British cabbage and one of the best varieties for winter use. They are well adapted, withstanding frost and winter rain and remain crisp and crunchy with excellent colour.
Known as 'Chou de Milan de Pontoise' in France and cultivated in England since 1867, it is one of the hardiest cabbages available. From November to January it produce heads that have a good sweet flavour and crisp crunchy texture. It is a distinct type of cabbage with the characteristic conifer-blue leaf colour, the outer leaves of the heart have a red tinge and the leaves have light blistering like a Savoy.
Cabbage 'January King No 3' has been awarded the RHS award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Prepare the site:
All brassica crops grow best in partial-shade, in firm, fertile, free-draining soil. Start digging over your soil as soon as you can brave the elements. Remove any stones you find and work in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost. Tread on the soil to remove air pockets and to make the surface firm. Brassicas will fail if the soil is too acidic; add lime to the soil if necessary, aiming for a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
Sowing: Sow successionally from February to July
Nearly all brassicas should be planted in a seedbed or in modules under glass and then transferred. Seeds should be sown thinly, as this reduces the amount of future thinning necessary and potential risk from pests.
Sow seeds 1.25cm (½in) deep and space 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) between rows.
Once the seeds have germinated, thin the seedlings to 7.5cm (3in) between each plant. After germination, seedlings will often be ‘leggy’, so plant them as deep as possible to really anchor them into the soil.
Cabbage seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are between 6 and 8cm high (2½ to 3"). Water the day before moving, and keep well-watered until established. Plant firmly, close together for small heads and wider apart for larger cabbages, around 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart.
Clear away any yellow leaves. Feed the plants as they near maturity with a foliar feed.
June to August (through to October)
Earliest heads can be cut, leaving the stump in the ground to produce a second crop of small leafy heads.
Brassicas are affected by a wide range of pests and diseases, especially the fungal disease, club root. The roots become stubby and swollen and can develop wet rot, while leaves become yellow and wilt, causing severe stunting of growth. Remove any infected plants from the ground and destroy. Make sure the soil is adequately limed and well drained.
Rotate your crops annually to avoid disease. Don't grow brassicas on the same plot more often than one year in three, as moving the crop helps avoid the build up of soil pests and diseases
Mint: Effective against Cabbage White Butterflies, Aphids / Flea Beetles
Thyme: To ward off that nasty Cabbage Worm!
Also useful: Sage, Oregano, Borage, chamomile and Nasturtium.
In the wild, the Brassica oleracea plant is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, and is somewhat similar in appearance to a leafy canola plant.
Without detailed knowledge of plant breeding or genetics, simple selection by the people growing the plant over seven thousand years that had the features that they most desired, led to the development of six dramatically different vegetables. Although they appear very different, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts are all the same species, Brassica oleracea.
As time passed, some people began to express a preference for those plants with a tight cluster of tender young leaves in the centre of the plant at the top of the stem. Because of this preference for plants in which there were a large number of tender leaves closely packed into the terminal bud at the top of the stem, these plants were selected and propagated more frequently.
A continued favouritism of these plants for hundreds of successive generations resulted in the gradual formation of a more and more dense cluster of leaves at the top of the plant. Eventually, the cluster of leaves became so large, it tended to dominate the whole plant, and the cabbage "head" we know today was born. This progression is thought to have been complete in the 1st century A.D.
Cabbage is known botanically by the name Brassica oleracea variety capitata, which translates to "cabbage of the vegetable garden with a head." (Kale plants are named Brassica oleracea variety acephala which translates to mean "cabbage of the vegetable garden without a head.")
The Latin name Brassica derives from the Celtic ‘bresic’. The species oleracea refers to a vegetable garden herb that is used in cooking.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 280 Seeds Common Name Winter Cabbage
Heritage variety (French 1800's)
Other Language Names Fr: Chou de Milan de Pontoise Family Brassicaceae Genus Brassica Species olearacea convar. capitata var. sabauda Cultivar January King No 3 Synonym Brassica olearacea Sabuda Group Height 35-45cm (14-18”) Spread 60cm (24”) Position Full sun Soil Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline, Dry Time to Sow April to May Time to Harvest November to April