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Common Name: Cabbage

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea (capitata)

Family: Cruciferae

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

Symptom Causes Solutions
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
Transplants die Stress
Protect from winds, high or
low temperatures and low soil moisture and mulch the
bare soil
  Damping-off Fungi
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
  Cold soil
Plant/transplant at right time of year
  Low fertility
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


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