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How to Grow Cabbage
Owing to the fact that by preserving a judicious succession of variety, Cabbages (Refer also to Brassicas) may be had the whole year round, it is one of the most universally used of all vegetables. The plant is most adaptable regarding conditions, but the soil must be rich and properly prepared. Like practically all the Brassica family, Cabbage seed must not be sown where it is to remain, but the young plants raised in seed boxes or an outdoor seed bed and transplanted later into their permanent position.
Types of cabbage
- Green Cabbage – also known as the cannonball cabbage. It is named for the way its leaves wound tightly over one another in a dense and compact manner, resembling a cannonball. You’ll most likely see this variety at the supermarket.
- Bok Choy – leafy tender vegetable with slender stems.
- Napa Cabbage – Oblong with frilly, light yellow-green leaves, it’s sweeter and softer than many varieties
- Savoy Cabbage – The attractive frilly leaves of the savoy cabbage are more loosely formed than green or red cabbage, which gives it a shorter shelf life, it wilts quickly even when refrigerated. Savoys are best suited for Winter use, but Should only be planted in very cold districts.
- Red Cabbage – Also known as the purple cabbage or red kraut, this cabbage changes its colour according to the pH value of the soil it grows in – the leaves grow reddish in acidic soil and more purplish in neutral – acting as a sort of litmus test.
Cabbage Soil Preparation
Proper soil preparation is essential. Trench the ground thoroughly and deeply, and work the manure well into the soil, although where the soil is of a sandy nature, the manure should be kept near the surface.
The best fertilisers for Cabbages are well-decayed stable or cow manure, or, failing this, Bone Dust and Superphosphate of Lime in equal proportions, for Summer crops; well-rotted stable or cow manure and Bone Dust in equal proportions, for Autumn, Winter and Spring crops. Where available chicken manure may be used in place of stable or cow manure, if desired.
Growing cabbage from seed: Raising seed and transplanting
Sow the seed thinly in seed boxes the outdoor seed and transplant the young seedlings to their permanent position as required, when ready. During the Summer months, however, before planting the seedlings out, prick them into a bed of fine soil, which will develop a good set of fibrous roots, thus enabling the plants to sustain any check caused by transplanting. Transplant, if possible, during cloudy or showery weather, and give the plants a good watering.
Cabbages require plenty of room to develop properly, and must not be crowded. For the larger growing sorts, such as Drumhead, Giant of Auvergne, Succession, Giant King, Large St. John’s Day, Champion Early Allhead, and Copenhagen Market, allow from 2½ to 3 feet between the rows, placing the plants 2 feet apart in the rows. With the medium-sized varieties, such as Eastham, Enfield Market, and Flat Parisian, 2 feet between the rows and 2 feet between the plants in the rows, will suffice.
Cabbage Plant Care
Cabbages must be kept growing on without a check from the time they are planted out. Do not allow the soil to become too dry and water the plants regularly. Keep the ground between the rows as well as in between the plants well cultivated, not only to destroy the weeds but to conserve moisture and to allow the air to penetrate the soil.
A month after transplanting (if necessary) give the plants an application of either Blood Manure or Nitrate of Soda, and repeat every five or six weeks as required. Proper and thorough preparation of the soil in the first place will largely obviate the necessity for this operation, but remember that Cabbages are gross feeders, and can absorb very large quantities of plant food.
Varieties of Cabbages
In the past the difficulty with the Home Gardener has been knowing the right variety of Cabbage to plant during the various seasons of the year, but there is no plant from which failure is more likely to result by planting a variety unsuited for the season than with Cabbage. For the guidance of the Home Gardener the following details will be helpful IT MUST BE KEPT IN MIND, THAT THE TIME OF TRANSPLANTING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE TIME OF SOWING THE SEED.
CLASS 1 – For the purpose of comparison these Cabbages are known as Early Varieties
CLASS 2 – This variety, being in between Class 1 and Class 3, is termed Second Early.
CLASS 3 – This class comprises the varieties which are planted for cutting· through the late Summer, Autumn, and Early Winter, and the kinds therein are generally known as Main Crop sorts.
CLASS 4 – The kinds in Class 4 come preceding section, and are sown later generally known as Late sorts