Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is a plant that is enjoyed by almost everyone; however, growing cabbage for an autumn harvest may be difficult since there are many varieties of the plant that are planted for summer harvests. However, cabbage production is often not difficult, and so even inexperienced home gardeners should be able to get the most out of the hardy, leafy-green plants. Cabbage production can be found in many countries across the world. As a result of the wide range of uses in the kitchen, cultivating both late and early types of cabbage will reward producers with a nutritious component that can be included into a variety of dishes.
The Basics of Cabbage Production
According to Britannica, cabbage is a member of the family Brassicaceae, sometimes known as the mustard family. Over the course of its long history of usage by humans, many distinct kinds of cabbage have been evolved. For instance, bok choy (Brassica rapa var. chinensis) and napa cabbage (Brassica rapa var. pekinensis) are two related species of cabbage that are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. In the United States, the most popular form of cabbage is typically referred to as head cabbage. Cabbage is a fantastic source of vitamin C when consumed in the form of food.
The University of Illinois Extension notes that cabbage is extremely resistant to disease and thrives in soils that are rich in nutrients. It may be found in a wide variety of green colours, and some species of cabbage even come in tints of red and purple. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, cabbage thrives in full sun and loam that is rich, wet, and well-drained. Additionally, the soil should have enough drainage. Many types fare poorly when daytime temperatures surpass 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also feasible to cultivate cabbage in pots; however, the plants will need to be moved outside between one and two weeks before the final frost of the season.
Late and Early Cabbages
Although early cabbages are often planted in the spring, there are also several types of late cabbages that may be grown later in the year. Late cabbages, in contrast to early cabbages, have to be planted in the middle of summer in order to mature into their huge, delicious heads throughout the fall months. Early cabbages may be planted in the spring.
There are a number of late cabbage species that are able to be seeded or transplanted into the garden. If it is at all possible, place the seed beds or flats where they are growing in the shade to offer them some protection. Additionally, try to transplant them on a cloudy day to lessen the amount of shock they may experience as a result of the move. If you live in a very warm region, the Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends that you postpone planting late cabbages until much later in the summer, when the temperature has dropped a little bit and the soil has had more time to cool down.
According to research conducted by Cornell University, late cabbages include the variety known as ‘January King’ (Brassica oleracea ‘January King), which produces light-green heads weighing between 4 and 6 pounds that have a hint of purple and blue. After being transplanted, it may take this variety anywhere from 100 to 120 days to achieve maturity. Another example is the ‘King Slaw’ cabbage, also known as Brassica oleracea ‘King Slaw. This variety of cabbage reaches maturity in around 105 days and can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius. Later cultivars often produce bigger heads and are frequently used in the preparation of sauerkraut, a meal that features fermented cabbage.
How to Plant a Cabbage
The first step in growing cabbage is preparing the soil by amending it with manure and compost and ensuring that it has appropriate drainage. This is done before planting the cabbage seeds. Be careful to put the seeds at a depth of only a quarter of an inch in the soil if you are doing it inside. When planting or transplanting cabbage, spacing is another factor to take into consideration. The seedlings should be planted between 1 and 2 feet away from one other in rows for the best results. If there is not sufficient space, the cabbage heads may end up being on the smaller side.
It is time to thin out the crop after the seedlings reach a height of around 5 inches. This will ensure that there is ample space between each plant. Mulch should be used all around the area to prevent the soil from drying up too quickly and to help retain moisture. After two weeks, apply a well-balanced fertiliser to the newly transplanted plants. Aphids, cabbage root maggots, and cutworms are just a few of the numerous insect pests that like the taste of cabbage plants as a source of food. In a similar fashion, the plants are susceptible to the diseases downy mildew and clubroot. In order to prevent the development of diseases that might affect cabbage production, it is a good idea to rotate other crops into the soil the year after cabbage has been harvested.