Brassica oleracea seed
WHEN TO PLANT: Late Summer, Fall, Spring
Planting Space : 18-24 inches
Cabbage is a cool-weather crop. Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring. Sow seed outdoors when the soil can be worked in spring. Place transplants in the garden when they are 3 to 4 inches tall as early as 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. In mild-winter regions, start seed in late summer for a winter or spring harvest.
Cabbage is a hardy biennial grown as a cool-weather annual that can tolerate frost but not heat. Cabbage grows an enlarged terminal bud of broad, overlapping leaves called a head atop a short, stubby stem. Heads can be round, flat, or pointed. Leaves can be smooth or crinkled in shades of green or reddish-purple and the head can be round, flat or pointed. Cabbage varieties can come to harvest early in the season, midseason, or late season. Exposed to severe frost, too little moisture, or too much heat cabbage will not form a head but instead bolt and go directly to seed. Cabbage heads–which are mostly water–will expand and split if the weather grows too warm as the heads take up water more quickly than the moisture can transpire from tightly wrapped leaves.
Plant 4 to 8 plants for each household member.
Grow cabbage in soil rich in organic matter that is well-drained. Cabbage grows best where the soil pH is between 6.5 and 7.5. Add plenty of well-aged compost to planting beds before planting. In regions where the soil is sandy or where there is heavy rain, supplement the soil with nitrogen.
Cabbage grows best in regions where there is a long, cool growing season with temperatures between 45° and 75°F. Cabbage can tolerate frost and briefly temperatures as low as 20°F. Cabbage will bolt and go to seed in temperatures greater than 80°F. Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring. Sow seed outdoors when the soil can be worked in spring. Place transplants in the garden when they are 3 to 4 inches tall as early as 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. In cool-summer regions, plant cabbage in late spring for a fall harvest. In mild-winter regions, start seed in late summer for a winter or spring harvest. Cabbage comes to harvest in 80 to 180 days from seed and in 60 to 105 days from transplants depending upon the variety.
Planting and spacing.
Sow cabbage seeds ½ inch deep spaced 1 inch apart; thin plants to 18 to 24 inches apart. Transplant cabbage to the garden when plants are 4 to 6 weeks old with 4 to 5 true leaves. Set leggy or crooked stemmed plants deeply, up to their first true leaves. Space seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Plant succession crops every two weeks or plant seeds and transplant at the same time or plant early and midseason varieties at the same time so that they come to harvest at different times.
Water and feeding.
Cabbage requires regular, even watering. Uneven watering can result in stunted or cracked heads. As plants reach maturity, cut back on watering to avoid splitting heads. Fertilize cabbage when plants are established with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 10-3-3.
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