Cabbage

Cabbages are members of the brassica family and are generally classified relative to their cropping season e.g. Spring, Summer and Autumn Cabbages.

Two other types that are quite common are Chinese a summer / autumn variety and Savoy a blistered leafed Autumn / Winter variety.

Overview:

Cabbages are a low calorie vegetable which is high in minerals and vitamins e.g. potassium and vitamens A and C.

With careful selection of varieties you can provide fresh cabbage throughout most of the year.

Each group require similar conditions, although spring varieties prefer lighter well drained soil.Cabbages are a low calorie vegetable which is high in minerals and vitamins e.g. potassium and vitamens A and C.

Idealy do not plant out in an area that has had any other member of the brassica family grown in it within the the last two years.

Keeping a crop rotation plan can help to control this situation in future years

All cabbages like a sunny or partialy shaded site and good fertile soil.

Preparation:

Prepare the beds in advance, preferably the previous autumn* by digging in liberal amounts of well rotted farmyard manure or compost.

*With autumn and spring varieties transplant in an area that has been manured for a previous crop. e.g. early potatoes.

Check pH prior to planting out a pH of 7-7.5

If the soil is acidic (below pH7) liming may be needed to increase the pH, which can help suppress club root disease.

Do not apply lime to newly applied farmyard manure in case they chemically react to the detriment of the plants.

Cultivation:

Summer cropping Cabbage:

Week 14: Sow Seed in pots / trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 13C (55F)

Germination should take up to one week.

Week 15: Prepare beds ready for planting out if not done previously.

Week 16: Prick out seedlings into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Place plants in cold frame a couple of days after pricking out.

Week 21: Plant out seedlings slightly deeper than they were in when in the pot.

Plant them 500mm (18”) apart in rows 600mm (24”) apart.

Fitting proprietary discs at this stage will deter root fly.

Close-mesh netting set over the crop will deter pigeons, rabbits and egg-laying cabbage white butterflies.

Canes topped with plastic drinking cups or pots make excellent supports.

Week 25 >: Keep weeds at bay by hoeing between the rows and water in dry weather.

If water supply is limited, apply one heavy soaking about 10-20 days before full maturity.

Week 28: Top dress beds with a balanced fertiliser.


Autumn cropping Cabbage:

Week 17-18: Sow Seed in pots / trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 13C (55F)

Germination should take around four to five days.

Week 18-19: Prick out seedlings into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Place plants in cold frame a couple of days after pricking out.

Week 23-24: Plant out seedlings slightly deeper than they were in when in the pot.

Plant them 500mm (18”) apart in rows 600mm (24”) apart.

Keep weeds at bay by hoeing between the rows and water in dry weather.

If water supply is limited, apply one heavy soaking about 10-20 days before full maturity.

Savoy Cabbage:

Savoy cabbages are among the most frost hardy in the cabbage group.

By growing combinations of early and late varieties cropping can be done from July to March.

Week 18: Sow seed in pots / trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 13C (55F)

Germination should take around four to five days.

Week 19: Prick out seedlings into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Place plants in cold frame a couple of days after pricking out.

Week 24: Plant out early varieties 500mm (18”) apart in rows 500mm (18”) apart.

Varieties grown later in the season should be allowed another 150mm (6") either way.

It is advisable to cover the plants with close-mesh netting to deter pigeons, rabbits and foraging animals eating the plants during the winter months.

Canes topped with plastic drinking cups or pots make excellent supports.

Spring Cabbage:

Spring cropping cabbage need a fertile soil that is not too high in nutrients.

Over rich soil can induce the plants to produce very soft leaves which can be damaged by harsh winter weather.

Similarly the soil must be sufficiently well drained to cope with winter rain and thawing snow.

Week 26: Sow Seed in pots / trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 13C (55F)

Germination should be within seven days.

Week 28-29: Prick out seedlings into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Week 30: Prepare the bed by hoeing or forking over sites that have recently been cleared of potatoes or early onions.

No fertiliser is necessary at this stage.

Week 31-33: Check pH prior to planting out a pH of 7-7.5 can help suppress club root disease.

If the soil is acidic (below pH7)liming may be needed to increase the pH.

Transplant seedlings into their cropping position, spacing them 200mm (8”) apart in rows set 300mm (12”) apart.

Complete planting by mid October (Week 42 ).

It is advisable to cover the plants with close-mesh netting to deter pigeons, rabbits and foraging animals eating the plants during the winter months.

Canes topped with plastic drinking cups or pots make excellent supports.

The following year:

Week 5: If not done previously; cover plants from birds by covering them with netting, or proprietary humming lines.

Week 12-13: Remove discoloured foliage and hoe around the plants.

Boost growth by hoeing in either sulphate of ammonia or nitro-chalk at a rate of 1oz (30g) per sq m.

Alternatively use 3oz (90g) per sq m of growmore or similar.

Some cabbages may be large enough for use in the kitchen, remove alternate or best developed plants to allow the smaller plants room to expand.





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