1. Plant cabbage at the right time
An important thing to remember is cabbage likes cool temperatures. Cabbage will not form a head but will instead split or bolt if exposed to too much heat or severe frost.
In cold winter areas, cabbage is a spring and fall crop. Sow cabbage seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last spring frost for a spring crop and 14 weeks before the first fall frost. Seeds sprout in 4 to 10 days.
In areas with mild winters like the low desert of Arizona, cabbage grows best during the winter season. In the low desert of Arizona, plant cabbage seeds from the end of August through December. Plant transplants when the weather begins to cool down slightly as early as the end of September through the end of January.
2. Try growing different types of cabbage
If warm temperatures may make growing traditional headed cabbage difficult try Oriental and Savoy cabbage varieties. These types are often more consistent producers when grown in warm climates like the low desert of Arizona.
Head cabbage has green or red leaves and forms a tight rounded head. Early and mid season varieties are smaller and faster growing. Late or long season varieties are larger and store well.
Savoy cabbage has long crinkled leaves that form a loose head than other varieties. It is also milder and sweeter than standard cabbage with a more delicate texture.
Oriental cabbage grows into an oblong shape.
Plant seeds late August to February.
Plant transplants October to February.
3. Grow cabbage in the best location
Cabbage prefers well draining rich soil. Amend the soil with compost and nitrogen rich blood meal (I like this one from Amazon) or cottonseed meal (I use this one from Amazon) before planting to encourage leafy growth.
Choose an area with full sun.
Although cabbage prefers cooler temperatures, it requires plenty of sunshine to grow well.
4. Give cabbage enough room
If using square foot gardening, plant 1 cabbage per square. Otherwise, space plants 12-18 inches apart depending on the variety.
5. Plant vigorous healthy seedlings for the best cabbage
Give cabbage a good start in life choose small and tight transplants and avoid leggy or overgrown transplants. Don’t let transplants dry out or become pot-bound. Seedlings planted too late may not form heads and may bolt and flower instead. When planting, bury the stem up to just below the first set of leaves.
6. Learn how to prevent and treat cabbage pests and diseases
Cabbage seems to be a magnet for some common pests and diseases. Insects such as cabbage worms, cutworms, snails, and slugs can ruin young cabbage leaves. Aphids are a sign of water or heat stress. Using a combination of methods works well to prevent and treat pests.
To prevent the build up of soil borne diseases, rotate where you plant cabbage each year. Wait 3 years before planting cabbage in the same spot. Remove and destroy affected plants.
To prevent disease, remove the entire plant after harvesting rather than leaving the roots in the ground.
7. Provide even watering for cabbage
Cabbage requires regular, even watering. Uneven watering can result in stunted, split, or cracked heads. Heavy mulch will help keep the soil cool and retain moisture.
8. Don’t let cabbage go hungry
Cabbage is a heavy feeder it depletes the soil quickly. Feed young plants with a fish emulsion and seaweed solution 2 weeks after planting. Feed again 3 weeks later, and feed monthly throughout the growing season.
9. Harvest cabbage correctly
Cabbage tolerates light freezes the flavor improves with cold weather. Harvest before temperatures heat up. Cabbage is ready to harvest in about 80 to 180 days when grown from seed and in approximately 65 to 105 days if grown from transplants (depending upon the variety).
Harvest head cabbage when heads are well formed and firm. Harvest head cabbage by cutting the base with a sharp knife. Want a second crop? Cut the head off high on the plant, leaving as many outer leaves as possible. The plant will send up as many as 6 new heads harvest when about tennis ball size.
Begin harvesting leaf cabbage about a month after planting by harvesting the outer leaves using the cut and come again method. To do this, harvest only the older outer leaves and allow the center of the plant to send out new leaves.
Once the harvest is complete, remove the roots and stem to prevent soil borne disease.
10. Store and use your homegrown cabbage
Remove loose leaves, wrap in a damp paper towel, and store in a plastic vegetable bag. Cabbage stored in this manner will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. Use cabbage in slaw, roasted, kimchi, soup, cabbage rolls, stir fries and more. Preserve cabbage by fermenting, and make your own sauerkraut.
Content created and supplied by: Wesley4658 (via Opera News )