Common Name: Cabbage
Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea (capitata)
Type and Use: Biennial grown as an annual with edible leaves.
Location: Sun to partial shade
Planting Dates: For spring, 2 to 4 weeks before last frost. For fall, 10 to 12 weeks before first frost. Use transplants and set just below the first set of leaves. In general, plant February 1 - February 28 and September 1 - September 15.
Planting Method: Plant seed indoors or in cold frame in mid-January. Plant ¼ inch deep.
Seed Emergence: 3-14 days, optimum temperature range 45-85°
Harvest Time: 60-120 days to harvest. Cabbage matures best at 60-65°.
Height: 12-24 inches
Spread: 12-18 inches
Final Spacing: 8-18 inches apart. Double row 12 inches on center is good for the home gardener; 14-18 inches is considered ideal.
Growth Habits: Cool-weather leafy vegetable that is grown as an annual. Edible foliage and flowers. Cabbage is smooth head-forming or savory (crinkled). Head shape ranges from flat to pointed. Cabbage has a relatively shallow root system.
Culture: Likes cool weather and moist, healthy soil. Keep the soil around plants mulched well. Add compost tea and organic fertilizer to the soil when the inner leaves begin to cup and start to form heads. At this point, keep the soil slightly moist. Can stand temperatures down into the 20s, especially when in an organic program. High fertility encourages firm, healthy heads. Use 25-30 pounds of organic fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. Foliar feed every two weeks with Garrett Juice. The best time to fertilize cabbage is when heads start to form. In wide rows of cabbage, that’s when the leaves of the plants are about to completely shade the row. Use a half handful of organic fertilizer.
Troubles and Solutions: Cabbage looper, imported cabbage worm, aphids, harlequin bugs, splitting heads caused by uneven moisture, flea beetles. Treat worms with trichogramma wasps and Bt products for severe infestations. Citrus-based sprays are also effective. Splitting can be reduced by root pruning to slow down growth.
Harvest and Storage: Expect about 10-20 heads per 10 feet of double row. Store in the refrigerator or eat right after harvest. Harvest the young leaves of Chinese cabbage any time. When mature, the leaves and stems can be used for miso soups and stir-frying. Can be stored 4-8 weeks at 32-40°.
Notes: The chemical experts say there is no control for the common disease black rot. Yes there is. It’s called the basic organic program. Chinese cabbage is best planted in flats and then planted into the garden soil in early spring or late summer.
Varieties: Early Jersey Wakefield, Sanibel, Gourmet, Ruby Ball, Savory King, Bravo, Green Cup, Stonehead. Chinese cabbage - Michihili, Jade, Pagota, China Pride
|Poor germination and emergence||Old seed||Use fresh seed|
|Cold soil||Plant when temperatures are 50° or more|
|Crusted soil||Break the crust|
|Seed planted too deep||Plant seed 1/4" - 1/2" deep|
|Low Moisture||Plant in moist soil and water carefully|
|Seedlings die||Damping off fungus||Work on improving soil health, treat soil with cornmeal, spray foliage with Garrett Juice plus garlic and/or potassium bicarbonate, and plant at the correct time|
|Cutworms, slugs or snails||Treat soil around plants with D-E and crushed red pepper|
Protect from winds, high or
low temperatures and low soil moisture and mulch the
Work on improving soil
health, treat soil with cornmeal, and spray
foliage with Garrett
Juice plus garlic and/or potassium bicarbonate
|Slow growth, poor foliage color||Wet soil or poor drainage||Use raised beds and prepare soil properly|
|Acid soil||Add high calcium lime|
Plant/transplant at right time of year
Apply light application of nitrogen containing fertilizer
|Holes in leaves||Loopers and other caterpillars||Release trichogramma wasps and treat with Bacillus thuringiensis|
|Flea beetles||Spray Garrett Juice plus citrus oil|
|Leaves cupped or wrinkled||Aphids||Spray with Garrett Juice plus garlic|
|V-shaped lesions on leaf margins or veins discolored||Black rot||Improve drainage, remove infected plants, work on improving soil health, treat soil with corn meal, and spray foliage with Garrett Juice plus garlic and/or potassium bicarbonate|
|Lesions or sunken areas on leaves or head||Leaf spot fungus||Work on improving soil health, treat soil with corn meal, and spray foliage with Garrett Juice plus garlic and/or potassium bicarbonate|
|Heads don't form||Heat||Plant at the proper time|
Avoid high or low soil moisture, low fertility, etc., when plants are young
|Heads split or crack near maturity||Fast growth||Avoid excess fertility|
|Wet soil||Don't overwater|
|Plants bolt||Weather||Bad timing - Spring planting was too late|
|Transplants too big||Use only transplants with a stem diameter less than pencil size|