Cabbage

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Cabbages come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and variations and you can find a cabbage to grow for all seasons of the year. If you think you don't like cooked cabbage then you should also try it raw in coleslaws and salads. This is an extremely versatile crop and one which most people will actually enjoy in one form or another.

Growing cabbage:

Cabbages can be sown and harvested practically all year round, as long as you choose the correct varieties. Many varieties of cabbage will require some protection over the winter months but you could be harvesting different cabbages for your Christmas dinner, or during the hungry gap in spring when other crops are more scarce.

You can sow cabbages directly into the soil during the warmer months but for the best results you should sow indoors and transplant seedlings to their final positions when they have five or six true leaves.

When transplanting you should fill the hole several times with water to allow the surrounding ground to become far moister. If you do this the cabbages should need little ongoing watering. A good soaking every ten days or so in dry weather should be adequate. Undercover in a polytunnel or greenhouse you should be sure that the cabbages get enough water, especially in the heat of the summer. A good organic mulch will reduce evaporation and help the soil to retain moisture. When the heads on headed cabbages begin to form you should water generously as this will increase the head size on the plant.

Cabbages can have several common problems. Cabbage root flies and caterpillars of cabbage white butterflies are common pests. Companion planting may help to deter or repel pests in some cases. If you have a bad insect pest problem then netting or mesh may be a good solution.

Cabbages are harvested by cutting through the stem just above ground level. With spring and summer cabbages you can then cut a 1.3cm deep cross in the stump and you will get a second crop, though these secondary cabbages will be much smaller.

Why grow cabbage in the garden?

If you are seriously trying to grow most of your own food then cabbage can be a green staple year round. There are so many different varieties that you are sure to find one that suits your garden conditions and your tastes.

Cabbages are healthy and can provide green leaves to eat at a time when other vegetables are scarce in the garden. They can be used for a staggering variety of culinary uses.

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Quick Facts

Latin Name
Brassica oleracea var. capitata