When summer winds down, it’s time to acquire cool-season vegetables like cabbage into the floor. The classic pine is round and green or red, but look at a backyard catalog and you’ll find cabbages that end in a point or are relatively flat, savoy cabbages with their feature ruffled leaves, and stunning varieties with blue-green leaves plus a purplish-red head. Some are more streamlined and may last longer into warmer weather.
They’re generally split into early, midseason and late cabbages. The early varieties are best for spring blossoms; the others do better in the fall. You will even find flowering cabbages, which stand out in the garden, especially following the first frost hits. These are usually grown as ornamentals, but they’re edible.
More: The way to grow cool-season veggies
Jocelyn H. Chilvers
When to plant: Like most cool-season crops, cabbage is happiest growing in fall or spring. For spring planting, then sow the seeds of an early variety in very early spring. You can even start them indoors about six weeks before the last frost date and place out transplants three weeks afterwards. For fall and winter crops, plant seeds of midseason and late varieties in summer time.
Days to maturity: 50 to 100
Light requirement: Full sunlight is best; partial color can also be fine, especially if the weather heats up quickly.
Water necessity: Supply ample water and keep the soil moist.
Favorite cabbage kinds: Alcosa, Arrowhead, Brunswick, Early Jersey Wakefield, Gonzales, January King, Late Flat Dutch, Mammoth Red Rock, Red Drumhead, Red Express, Red Meteor, Redball, Samantha, Savoy King, Savoy Queen, Super Red 80, Winnigstadt
Planting and maintenance: Be sure that your soil is fertile and well drained. Sow seeds around a half inch deep and an inch apart. Give them space, setting them thinning them to 2 feet apart with 2 feet or more between pops. They enjoy water, so keep the bed continually moist. Feed the plants about halfway through the growing period using an entire high-nitrogen fertilizer. Weed them as the roots are shallow.
Cabbage is prone to problems; what do you expect when there are bugs named cabbage loopers, cabbage root maggots and cabbage worms? They may also have problems with diseases, like damping off and downy mildew, and these are simply a few of the possible problems.
Solving plant problems: You can watch to see if the issue resolves itself obviously, especially if you observe the principles of integrated pest control and organic gardening. But if it gets out of hand, take steps to eliminate it, beginning with the least invasive strategy and moving out of there. Rotating crops in the future may help with a few problems. Heads will divide if they are too old, therefore harvest before that happens.
Harvest: View the cabbage heads carefully and harvest until they divide. Store them in a cool spot and keep them damp to help prolong their storage life.
More: How to Boost Cool-Season Vegetables