How to Grow Cabbage from Seeds or Plants
Growing Cabbage is easier than you might think - get here some useful tips and tricks.
Cabbage, or to give it its scientific name, Brassica oleracea var. capitata is an annual plant which grows best in rich and well-drained, regularly moistened but not overwatered soil and sunny weather conditions.
Requiring a pH range of between 6.0 and 6.5 cabbage takes around 90 days to mature, and the most popular known pest as far as this plant is concerned is the cabbage worm.
When planted alongside herbs like chamomile, dill, mints, rosemary and thyme the cabbage plant will flourish and it also grows well with beets, broad beans, celery, garlic, onions, peas and potatoes as its companions.
The highest quantities of vitamin E and calcium are to be found in the outer leaves of the plant but cabbages as a whole have lots of other minerals such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, potassium and sulfur as well as a greater amount of vitamin C than oranges.
Cabbage seeds should be started indoors around eight to ten weeks prior to the last expected frost date. The seeds need to be sown in a sterile starting mix approximately half an inch down and thoroughly watered. The soil should be kept lightly moist when sprouts are seen and the plants need a source of light at this stage.
Once every two weeks the plants should be fed with half strength fertilizer. When two sets of true leaves are visible, the plants can be moved outdoors for spells of two hours or so at a time until they eventually take up a permanent position outside.
Plants should be kept twelve inches apart from each other in rows with between twenty four and thirty six inches separating them, depending on the variety of cabbage you are growing. As a collar for the plant you can place a tuna or cat food can (remove the top and bottom first) mid way into the soil. This also helps to avoid cutworm damage too.
First of all, make sure you select healthy looking plants. Avoid any plants where you spot small white moths sporting a black dot on their wings lingering around as these insects deposit their eggs on the plant and prevent them from being strong.
Once you have bought your plants you should set them a minimum of twelve inches away from each other, again in rows with twenty four to thirty six inches between them. The tuna or cat food can may be used to avoid cutworm damage and act as a collar for the plant in the same way as if you are growing your cabbages from seed.
Plants should be kept moist and in order to help young plants cope with the intense heat and sunshine of the summer, they need to be properly irrigated. This also allows the heads to develop quickly.
By mulching the plants with one or two inches of organic matter the soil will remain moist, the plants will be fed and your weeds will be under control. Take care, however, to keep the mulch at least an inch away from the plant´s stem.
As mentioned earlier cabbage plants prefer to be in sunshine although part shade will be tolerated. The soil you use should be loose, retain moisture well and have a pH level of 6.0 to 6.5. Due to the fact that cabbage is a heavy feeder, applications of boron, calcium and magnesium will be especially beneficial throughout the early growth stages of the plant.
Cabbage worm pests can be avoided by the use of row covers during early growth of the plants. This makes any eggs the moth-like insects have laid easy to spot and remove.
Find here even more information on worm pests like cabbage loopers.
Make sure that you don't overgrow your cabbages. You will know if this has happened as the heads will split, also a sign of rapid growth because you have over moistened or over fertilized the plant.
When the cabbage heads are firm and the insides of the cabbage feel dense, it's the right time to go ahead and harvest your crop.