Could it be that my cabbage was never capable of cabbaging?
September 16, 2016 11:39 PM   Subscribe

I am in Sydney, Australia. In the last week of April I planted seedlings that the garden centre had labelled as cabbage. They produced big beautiful leaves, but never headed. I assumed it was because it never really got properly cold. I was planning to rip them out soon, but they got taller and taller, and now they have started to produce thingies on the stem that look a lot like brussels sprouts. Could it be a mix-up with the seedlings?

I've never grown cabbages before, so maybe they always do this when they are about to go to seed, but I thought I'd check with gardeners of Metafilter first. I've tried googling for pictures of cabbages going to seed and haven't seen anything like this, while they do kind of match pictures of brussels sprouts plants, which I admittedly have also never grown.
posted by lollusc to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
I've worked on several organic farms and have grown cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Agree that those are totally Brussels sprouts (and that is not what bolted cabbage looks like). Yum!
posted by jrobin276 at 11:49 PM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes, I think you got brussels sprout seedlings by mistake. Cabbages gone to seed basically look like... cabbages but with a tall stalk . What you've got here look just like brussels sprouts. You probably already know this but cabbages and brussels sprouts (and kohlrabis and turnips and kale and mustard and broccoli etc.) are all essentially the same species and are very easy to mix up as seeds and seedlings.
posted by 3urypteris at 11:51 PM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, from my limited gardening experience I recommend harvesting these before they do go to seed as they will 1) lose all their flavor 2) you will be dealing with feral brussels sprouts popping up from random spots in your yard for the rest of your days and 3) you stand the chance of them crossing with any other brassicas you plant and producing wild-type little nothing plants (which are actually kind of neat but not much for eating).
posted by 3urypteris at 11:56 PM on September 16, 2016

That's good news! Of course, one reason why I wasn't trying to grow brussels sprouts is that they really do taste better when they've been grown in a cold winter. Not sure how these will taste. But it's still better than bolted cabbage, which is what I thought I had. (And it makes me feel better about what I thought was a complete failure to get any of my "cabbages" to head.)
posted by lollusc at 12:02 AM on September 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

Actually, they taste pretty okay. (Which is, I believe, Australian for awesome and not to be confused with "pretty average", which is Australian for terrible.)
posted by lollusc at 1:04 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

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