JANUARY KING CABBAGE

Post last updated: October 11th, 2018

I saw a photo somewhere on the web (you know how that goes) of January King Cabbage. It was so pretty I started looking for seeds. Although an heirloom, seeds were hard to find. I ended up ordering a stingy 20 seeds from Cherry Gal.  It’s not that I wanted to grow 20 cabbages but 20 seeds are barely enough for reseeding due to garden, uh, accidents. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds did that to me this year with a mere 25 seeds of their Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber.  The first gherkin seeds didn’t come up and I’ve got to try again.

I didn’t grow the January King in 2011 so I must have ordered the seeds after the winter growing season and had to wait for the fall/winter 2012 garden.

January King cabbage is an open-pollinated heirloom. It dates back to Victorian England (before 1885) but the French also claim it according to both Cherry Gal and Thompson & Morgan. It grows on compact plants with flattened heads and slightly savoyed blue green outer leaves with a touch of purple. It was that reddish-purple that caught my eye in the original web photo. Cherry Gal says it is extremely cold hardy but also grows well in the summer months. Even Thompson & Morgan claimed it could be planted in early July and would hold in the garden until March. Bwahahahahahaha, can you imagine cabbage growing in Florida in the summer? With all our bugs? I know better than to try something so foolish. I had no bug problems on January King in my fall garden.

All the seedsmen agreed that the mature heads would weigh 3 to 5 pounds but I didn’t weigh mine. I had only two that survived and they were so pretty I didn’t harvest them until the very, very end of the winter season.  By then, they were huge and probably every bit of 5 pounds. Interestingly, one of the two did form the flattened, dense head but the other one never formed a head. It was just a collection of beautiful leaves.

Notes On The Menu suggested roasting one’s January King cabbage. Isn’t that a wild idea?

The seeds were planted on September 8 or October 12. I keep planting records of a sort but sometimes I do something stupid like writing “planted cabbage”. Thus, the possibility of two dates. I wish I had taken photos late in the season but I was so smitten by the beauty of the cabbage that I ran out and looked at them every day but after January 27th, never took another photo.  Still the photos here show the progression of cabbage growth in two different January King cabbage – one that formed a head and one that did not.

Reddish purple starts to show Photo taken 12/9/12
Reddish purple starts to show
Already forming a head
Photo taken 12/9/12
Photo taken 1/6/13
Head is getting bigger
Photo taken 1/6/13
Photo taken 1/6/13
Not forming a head
Photo taken 1/6/13
Never formed a head Photo taken 1/27/13
Never formed a head
Photo taken wrong time of day on 1/27/13
Note purple tinge on leaf edges

10 thoughts on “JANUARY KING CABBAGE”

  1. I love roasted vegetables of most any kind. Unsure why I never thought to roast cabbage. I will definitely do it soon. We have some volunteer cabbage plants about 50+ feet from where we grew some last year. They were wonderful, dense heads and very tasty. Can’t imagine why we are having some grow so far away since we didn’t plant any this year. Our gardening is sort of hit or miss! I have a fantastic cauliflower recipe if you like it and are interested. Let me know and I’ll send it to you. Only a few ingredients and it is awesomely delicious. Some of your blog followers (is there a real term for that?) might also have interest. It is a vegan dish. Thanks, as always for sharing your knowledge and experiences, along with the accompanying beautiful photos!

    1. Lynn – Why don’t you post the cauliflower recipe here in the comments for the folks who follow comments. Won’t take you that long since it has only a few ingredients. With the torrential rains we get from time to time, your cabbage seed could have been carried 50 feet away. Appreciate your support of my blog.

    1. Kim – they were even prettier later on when I was too smitten to remember to photograph them. Yes, I ate them and they were good but I like the dark green leaves of cabbage. Lotsa folks don’t.

  2. I grew these last year and they really are pretty with a lovely pink tinge. Unfortunately there was a hole in my netting and the butterflies got in and laid their eggs… the caterpillars reaped the rewards so I haven’t actually tasted one yet!

    1. PJ – Momma had trouble with caterpillars on her cabbage and finally gave up growing them. She was simply growing them at the wrong time of year. I plant them in the early fall and have no trouble with bugs. I know it snows at your place but January King is considered to be very cold hardy. Try growing them in the fall.

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