Cabbage is one of the easiest crops to grow. The cabbage belongs to the Brassica family and is a hardy, cool-season biennial vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. This tasty vegetable can be used in soups, salads, stir-fries and much more.
Cabbage is filled with a number of nutrients. It contains Vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Additionally, this leafy, cruciferous vegetable is loaded with antioxidants that help to minimize free radical damage to the cells and contains cancer-fighting properties.
If you would like to learn how to grow this delicious vegetable, keep reading as the article contains all the information that you need to grow large, beautiful cabbages.
Preparing the Site
Cabbage requires fertile, well-drained soil. The vegetables require regular watering and full sun to partial shade. The pH level of the soil should be between 6 and 6.5. For best results, avoid growing cabbages in the same place. The area should not have been used to grow brassicas in the previous three years. Add compost to the soil to ensure it is humus-rich before planting your cabbages.
Planting Instructions for Cabbages
Cabbages should be planted in very early spring. Begin seeds indoors using a propagation flat. Once the seedlings have developed two sets of leaves, the cabbage can be transplanted outdoors in the garden. Cabbages are extremely hardy and grow best in the early cool-season of the year. There should be at least fifteen inches between your plants and there should be two to three feet between your rows.
If you are sowing seed directly in the soil, sow them a 1/2 inch deep. Fertilize using an organic fertilizer every couple of weeks as cabbages are heavy feeders and are susceptible to nutritional deficiencies.
Harvesting Your Cabbages
The cabbage will be ready to harvest in six to eight weeks. To harvest, cut the stalk at the base of the cabbage using a pruning knife. Remove a couple of the outer leaves and take indoors. Harvest in the morning for best results while it is cool to ensure the cabbage is crisp.
Once you harvest your cabbages, wash them in cool water and allow to dry before storing them in the refrigerator. With refrigeration, the cabbage will last approximately two weeks.
Common Pests and Diseases that Affect Cabbage
A number of pests and diseases can affect young plants. You can minimize the risk by covering the cabbages with a row cover to protect against root maggots, flea beetles and cabbage worms. Another way to protect your plants is to remove the bottom of a paper cup and use it as a collar to protect the emerging plant. Keep an eye out for white butterflies as they turn into cabbage worms that can destroy a whole crop of cabbage quickly. If you find cabbage worms or white butterflies in the garden, mix a teaspoon and a half of bacillus thuringiensis in a bucket of water and apply to your plants. Repeat this application once a week to protect aginst these pests.
Common diseases that affect cabbages include clubroot, damping off and wilting. To help prevent these diseases, avoid using overhead sprinklers. Wet leaves make the plant susceptible to disease.
Cabbages should be grown in the cool spring months. Use the tips from this article to help ensure a bountiful crop of nutrient-rich cabbages.