Wild Cabbage Update 2

This is the last of the five wild cabbage plants I planted in the spring of 2013. Dead. And its fellow survivors (see last update) died earlier this year too.

Dead wild cabbage plant

To give them credit as this was their third season they had made it to the rank of perennial (living for more than two years). Only just - but the possibility of perenniality is in there. My plans now are to grow more plants from seed and keep a look out for longer-lived specimens to then propagate by cuttings.

Since first writing about wild cabbage I've learnt that many botanists consider that some or possibly all of the wild cabbages that grow around our shores have actually escaped from earlier cultivation and naturalised. See link for a discussion of this and support for the idea that cabbages were first cultivated from wild plants growing in the Mediterranean region. Perhaps it follows that the genetic make-up of 'wild' plants, having come from plants in gardens, allotments and fields whose ancestors came from diverse locations abroad, will vary between separate locations in the British Isles even more than if they were native. So I'm interested in sourcing seed from a variety of wild populations. A trip to Staithes, on the North Yorkshire coast, is planned at least. The wild cabbages that grow there are known as Silverwhips.

And looking back over that last update I'm going to try a different care plan for my next lot! I had left one of my original plants to flower freely. It appeared to die but then started to produce leaves from the base.

Wild cabbage plant producing new leaves at base

True it then copped it, but probably because I let it go too short of water during the summer. If it hadn't died of thirst perhaps it would have had more vigour and gone on to have enjoyed a longer life than the plants that had to keep producing more and more flower shoots as I repeatedly pruned them to prevent them from flowering.

Incidentally, unlike that one wild cabbage that appeared to come back to life, the plant pictured at the top of the page was truly dead. I left it for a good long while to make sure!

N.B. I sell a range of perennial vegetable plants on my website.