A Guide on Growing Cabbage
Cabbage is the common name for a vegetable with the scientific name Brassica oleracea capitata. Cabbage contains vitamin C and its inner and outer leaves contain vitamin E and calcium. Cabbage is characterized by its bud, which is made up of overlapping leaves to shape a head; it belongs to the Brassica family that includes broccoli and cauliflower. Its varieties are categorized in green, red, and savoy.
Ideal climate and soil conditions for growing cabbage
Cabbage is a cool season vegetable. It can tolerate frost as it grows and it can tolerate temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not grow well in a hot weather. It is important to start planting cabbage in time for harvest during a cool weather. Cabbage likes to grow in fertile soil with good drainage and a pH between 6.5 to 7.5 pH. Cabbage grows better in a spot where it can have partial shade from the sun and it grows best in soil that is blended with compost.
Sowing Cabbage Seeds
Growing cabbage can be started by sowing cabbage seeds directly into the ground. It can also be done by transplanting cabbage plants into the ground after planting cabbage seeds indoors.
When planting cabbage seeds indoors, it is started by sowing the cabbage seeds in a seed bed. The cabbage seedlings are thinned out to around 3 inches apart after the cabbage seedlings have grown enough to around 1 inch tall. The seed bed should be kept moist enough before transplanting them into the ground when they are around 5 inches tall with at least 4 leaves.
In sowing cabbage seeds directly and transplanting cabbage seedlings into the soil, they are spaced at least 18 inches apart with the rows at least 24 inches apart. The soil has to be firm and packed because the roots need to be completely covered. Cabbage plants need to grow in soil with abundant moisture and enough air.
Caring for Cabbage plants in the garden
Cabbage plants need to be watered regularly to keep the soil moist as they grow. They also grow best when they get enough cool air. They should not be watered then their heads are getting mature.
The soil around the cabbage plants should be cultivated regularly to keep weeds from growing but the soil should not be loosened enough to keep the soil bed firm. A lightweight cover over the cabbage rows can be used to help protect them from pests and insects.
Cabbage plants are heavy feeders and they grow best when general purpose garden fertilizer is applied to their soil bed once a month. The cabbage should also not be handled when they are wet.
Growth period, harvesting and care
Cabbage plants mature in 80 to 180 days from the seed planting. They should be harvested before the weather gets warm and when their heads are already firm. They are harvested by cutting the head off and leaving the outer leaves on the stem. Small heads should be left to grow and be harvested later.
Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that has many varieties. It is better not to grow too many of cabbage plants because the stump left in the ground can produce another crop of cabbage heads when the first heads are cut for harvest.