Growing your own food Series: How to grow Cabbage in your backyard?

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This is part 3 of Growing your own food series. Part 2 revolved around barrel potatoes. In the part 1, we saw how can we grow tomatoes.

Cabbage is a leafy green biennial plant grown as a seasonal vegetable crop for its dense leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabbage, and belongs to the “cole crops” or brassicas, meaning it is closely related to broccoli and cauliflower.

Cabbage weights usually range from 500 to 1,000 grams (1 to 2 lb). Smooth-leafed, firm-headed green cabbages are the most common. Smooth-leafed purple cabbages and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors are rarer. It is a multi-layered vegetable. 

It is easy to grow cabbage in your backyard. It is rich in Vitamin C, nutrients, keeps the heart-healthy, and improves the digestive system.  

Preparing to grow the cabbage.

Cabbage needs a fertile soil and it needs frequent watering. The soil in your backyard should be well drained and it needs full sun to partial shade. The pH of the soil should be within 6 and 6.5. Make sure, you don’t grow cabbage in a spot where brassicas are grown in the previous three years. Of course, the key to a great harvest is the humus rich soil, so before planting add good amount of compost to the soil.

How to Plant

You can plant the vegetable in early spring. I would recommend you start the seeds indoors in a generation flat and when the seedlings develop two sets of true leaves, you may revamp in your garden. Cabbages are extremely hard and they can be planted along with the earliest of cool-season crops. Make sure you keep at least 15 inches between plants and about 2-3 feet between the rows.

If you are sowing from seeds, plant directly to the soil about 1/2 inch deep. Add organic fertilizers every 2-3 weeks respectively as they are very sensitive to many nutrient scarcities because of its heavy feeder nature.

Harvesting

The vegetable can be harvested in 6-8 weeks depending on the variety. Cut the stalk precisely at the base of the head with a knife. Remove the outer leaves and keep that for composting. The best time to harvest is in the morning when the heads are cool and crisp.

Once harvested, you can keep it in the refrigerator after washing up to 2 weeks. Before putting in a refrigerator, make sure the heads are dry to decrease rot.

Insects and Diseases

Covering the young plants with row cover will defend the cabbage from cabbage worms, flea beetles, and root maggots. Young plants can also be protected from insect pests by keeping a collar made from paper cups with the bottom cut out. Look out for small white butterflies fluttering around your cold crops. They are the ones that form the cabbage worms. 

Some of the cabbage diseases are wilting, damping off, and clubroot. I would suggest not to use overhead sprinklers while watering. 

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