Growing cabbage in home gardens!
The earliest mention of cabbage is as a magic cure-all for baldness in ancient china during 4000 B.C in the Shensi province. That makes it one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. Cabbage contains a high concentration of vitamin C and vitamin K. They help remove toxins from your body. It is also a very good source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate, and copper. Additionally, cabbage is a good source of choline, phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, pantothenic acid, protein, and niacin.
Cabbage or Patta Gobhi as it is called in India, is a green leafy vegetable biennial plant of the Brassica oleracea family. It is available in shades of green, purple (red) and white (pale green). Closely related to broccoli and cauliflower, the cabbage has been highly hybridized in favor of large heads as compared to the wild cabbage which has a significantly smaller head.
The heaviest cabbage as per Guinness book of records weighed at 62.7 kilograms. The cabbage is extensively consumed all over the world, with Russia being its top consumer. It can be eaten steamed, boiled, braised, microwaved, stuffed, pickled, fermented, stir-fried, deep-fried, and even raw.
You can grow this enigmatic vegetable at home, as long as you provide a few specific conditions.¬†The seeds will be available in your local nursery and can be ordered online as well.
- You can start the seeds indoors and then transplant them to the ground or containers when they are 3 ‚Äì 4 inches tall. If you are growing them in a container, it has to be at least 12 inches deep and wide.
- Cabbages are heavy feeders; they need a lot of nutrients to grow healthy. The soil should be rich and mixed properly with organic compost and should be well-drained.
- Do not overwater them as it will lead to the cabbage head-splitting or even rotting. Uneven watering causes the heads to become loose, stunted, and cracked.
- Add mulch around the seedlings to retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing. The watering has to be consistent as they need moist soil.
- Adding nitrogen to the soil will promote leaf growth as well. Prepare the soil beforehand with aged compost and manure and then turn them into the soil at a level of 12 inches. Plant the seedlings at least 12 to 24 inches apart as the close you plant the smaller will be the cabbage head.
- Make sure that nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer is added to the soil after 2 weeks of transplanting or when they have grown 6-8 inches. Cabbages need nitrogen in its early stages. They also need organic fertilizers every two weeks. Beets, Celery, Fragrant Herbs, Onions, Potatoes; Avoid Pole Beans, Strawberries, Tomatoes are great companion plants for the cabbage and also help prevent pest and disease.
The cabbage should be ready to be harvested in approximately¬† 60-80 days from seeds depending on the variety. When the heads are around 4 to 10 inches across, they are ready to be harvested and should be cut from the stem to remove the head. Also make sure the head is firm and not loose. Remove any yellow leaves and store them immediately in shade. Do not remove the loose leaves around the head as they offer protection during storage.
If you want additional heads form the same plant cut through the stem but leave a few outer leaves hanging, this will promote smaller head to begin to develop (around the size of a cricket ball). After the second cycle, remove the roots as well to prevent soil for catching any disease (overripe, mature roots attract maggots). The cabbage can be stored in refrigerators for 1-2 weeks.