Cabbage Carrots Early Nantes 5 Parsnips Savoy King F1

Why seeds don’t germinate

If you’ve been following my blog over the last 5 months you’d have seen that I’ve been quite prolific in my sowing. However, not all have been successful – prompting me to sow more in a few weeks time.

Why carrots and parsnips don’t germinate

I’ve gone with Early Nantes 5, and I remember sowing quite a thick stream seeds into the ground, however, sadly not all of them have come through as I’d hoped.

I suspect soil crusting maybe at fault here. Soil crusting is when a thin layer of rugged and thick soil emerges on top of the bed. This makes the bed compacted and harder for carrots to poke through. It’s also one of those bed conditions whereby the bed looks smooth and soft, but is actually quite hard. Too much rain can cause crusting, as the droplets will eventually push down on the bed.

I think this has also had an effect on my parsnips.

Why cabbages don’t germinate

Cabbage Savoy KingSadly, I’ve only got two Savoy King Cabbages to my name – and I checked the packet and it’s out of date. Out of date seeds don’t  necessarily mean they won’t germinate, but it does mean that the success rate is cut significantly.  There’s certainly no harm in sowing out of date seeds – just remember that they may not germinate.

There’s nothing worse than waiting for seeds to germinate, only to find that nothing happens and you realise that you should have checked the seed packet – lesson learned.

Other reasons seeds don’t germinate

Too Dry: Water is crucial for germination. Preventing you soil drying out will help maintain a soil moisture.

Too Hot: High temperatures result in soil drying out which can injure seeds and seedlings.

Too Cold: Cold temperatures can kill seedlings and prevent germination. A frost can wipe out any seedlings that poke through.

Planting Seedlings Too Deep: Seeds may not be able to grow enough to reach the surface on the limited food storage from inside of the seed.

Soil Too Firm: Seedlings need oxygen to germinate and a soil that is too firm will reduce oxygen from getting to your seed. Soil that is too firm will also have an impact on drainage.

Cabbage Savoy King F1

Sowing Cabbage: Savoy King F1

Savoy Cabbage for me has to be the king of cabbages, they’re big, they’re tasty, they’re crinkly, incredibly good for you and they look great in the garden or allotment.

I’ve chosen to grow Savoy King F1 – this variety is a very popular, second-early, savoy-type hybrid. It’s also quite versatile in mild conditions and can be sown in spring, summer and autumn. Savoy King F1 is also an All American Selection (AAS) Award Winner.

I’ve tried to do some research into the Savoy variety and where it comes from, and my research took me back thousands of years. The history of the cabbage is a patchy one (excuse the pun) but it’s highly likely that the cabbage was first used for home use somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC. Savoys were not developed until the 16th century.

By the dark ages and from then on since the cabbage has played an important role in the kitchen. Savoy King F1 was originally bred by Reed’s Seeds Cabbage genetics, which was then acquired by Sakata Vegetables.


The term ‘Savoy’ also has an interesting history and comes from the land of Savoy (House of Savoy) between the 11th to 14th centuries. The historical territory is shared between the modern countries of France, Italy, and Switzerland. There is a fascinating article here on Wikipedia about the House of Savoy. Clearly, you’ve reached new heights of wealth when you have the power to name a variety cabbage after your family.

Growing cabbages are incredibly easy, I’ve started mine off in a cold-frame by planting two seeds per cell, in a tray of six cells. In about five weeks or so, or when the seedlings are large enough to move, I’ll look to transplant these seedlings into pots of their own. When it comes to planting outside, I will plant these with my Brussels sprouts and my broccoli to keep down the amount of pests that may otherwise attack the plants.