The Backyard Larder

A place to explore and buy perennial vegetables and other food plants.

Wild Cabbage Update 4

Well that seems fairly conclusive – letting wild cabbage flower its heart out rather than chopping off the flowers as they appear led to a much better ‘leafing up’ after flowering.

This was the plant early this year before flowering (in its second year). We’d been harvesting leaves all winter.

Wild cabbage in February

Here it is flowering in May – on the right behind Ewan, my eldest son (who looks after the website for me).

When the plant had finished flowering and the pods were forming I pruned off all the flower stems (bar one kept for seed) to save the plant putting energy into forming the seeds.

Wild cabbage with flower stems pruned

It soon began to put out new leaves.

Wild cabbage after pruning flower stems

And here is a photo taken today.

Wild cabbage 'leafed up'

So this seems the way to go. I’m curious to see whether it can repeat the performance next year (wild cabbages can be biennial or perennial).

Did I really needed to do any pruning at all? A few days ago I visited Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast and saw many wild cabbages holding aloft dried flower stalks, the seed pods shattered and the seeds dispersed. They were leafing up beautifully at the base.

Wild cabbage at Staithes

There are literally thousands of beautiful wild cabbage plants in and around Staithes. (I thought there would just be a few). More photos of the ‘Silverwhips’ of Staithes coming in the next post in a few days time!

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