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.