How to curly cabbage or Savoy cabbage in your vegetable garden
Curly cabbage or Savoy cabbage: Easy to grow, hardy and delicious. This variety has rounded heads of dark green ruffled leaves that have a subtle flavour compared to other savoy cabbages. It’s a very hardy variety and stands well without splitting.
This hardy plant, a type of cabbage, has been grown in Britain since the seventeenth century. The leaves are quite distinct from those of other cabbages, being very puckered or crimped. Although there are early varieties, most gardeners prefer those which are of use during the winter and early spring.
Cabbages need a sunny site with deep, firm, moisture retentive soil. Add plenty of compost or organic matter before planting.
Plant in raised beds & traditional plots
Savoy Cabbage is better grown in raised beds or a well dug traditional veg patch. You could grow them in a grow bag too, 3 to a bag.
When and How to Plant
As with other varieties of cabbage, savoy doesn’t do well in hot weather. Therefore, it can be grown once in the spring, and again in the fall. In the spring, you should aim to get transplants in the ground immediately after your last frost. This gives plants time to fully develop before it becomes too hot. Start seeds five or six weeks before your expected last frost date. In the fall, crops should be transplanted in late July to mid-September. Those in colder regions should transplant earlier, while those in warmer regions can transplant later.
Seeds for transplants should be started in late June to early August, depending on when you want to plant. This crop can also be direct seeded, but it will take up space in your garden for a longer period of time. Direct seed in July and August for zones one through six and in August and September for zones seven through ten.
Keep soil moist
As weather warms up it is important to keep cabbages cool and to give them enough water. Try to keep the soil consistently moist rather than allowing it to dry out. During dry spells, water well, once or twice a week.
Planting advice: Plant 40cm apart in fertile soil. Firm in well and protect from slugs, butterflies and pigeons!
How to Harvest
Savoy cabbage heads will be ready to harvest 70 to 110 days after planting seeds, depending on the variety. Check your seed packet to see when your variety will be ready.
While heads should be compact, this variety does have a little more give than others. When you touch a mature cabbage, don’t be surprised if it feels squishy. However, if you can push the cabbage inwards more than a quarter of an inch, it needs more time to mature. To harvest the cabbage, simply cut the stem near ground level. After removing any discolored leaves, store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to a month.
In the kitchen: Shred or cut savoy cabbage into wedges with the hard core discarded. Steam, boil, braise or stir-fry. It especially delicious braised with pancetta and garlic.