Cavolo Nero is a great autumn/winter grower as it doesn’t mind the colder weather. Happily, it is also a little less appealing to slugs than many other veg plants, which is an added bonus to growing it. And, as brassicas go, it’s quite pest-free too – pigeons and caterpillars prefer the more tender leaves of other cabbages.
You can either grow it under cover (in a greenhouse, or even under a cloche tunnel) which should provide you with cut and come again leaves right through the colder months, or grow it outside. If you grow it outside you can expect to get good growth during the autumn months while the weather is still quite mild. During the colder spells growth may slow down a little, but things will soon get going again when the weather warms up.
You can grow it really well in pots and containers, and if you’re short on space you can always pop it in the flower bed instead of the veg patch as it’s quite decorative and adds a nice deep, textured foliage to borders in the winter months.
You’ll find that the flavour changes (for the better) after the first few frosts, so if you are growing it in pots don’t be afraid to leave them outside to face the elements – snow, hail and frost will do no damage – these plants are tough cookies.
When it comes to harvesting, try to pick leaves off all the plants equally, rather than just picking from one plant. This’ll help keep them all going. Also, try to pick the medium sized leaves. Leave the smaller leaves to grow a bit more, and leave the larger leaves intact as these are the ones that help the plant grow.