how to start growing cabbages

An Introduction of Cabbage

Cabbage is a leafy green annual vegetable plant that is grown mainly for its leafy head portion. This vegetable plant can be green, red or purple, white or light green in color. Cabbage belongs to brassicaceae family.


Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea


This vegetable plant is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Manganese, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potasium.

You can easily grow this vegetable plant from seeds in your home garden in a growing bag or a container with good drainage holes. 



Growing Season

You can grow cabbage in both tropical and temperate regions but the time of sowing seeds vary. If you are planning to grow in temperate regions that have cool summer then you can sow the seeds in late spring season. 

If you are living in tropical regions like India then you can start sowing the seeds from late summer i.e. mid of July to November. People living in hilly regions that have cold summer can sow seeds in late spring. 



Temperature

Cabbage can grow well in temperature ranging from 4 to 24 degree celcius. For seeds to germinate properly the soil temperature should be in the range of 20 to 30 degree celcius. Temperature plays a very important role in the growth of the plant.



Potting Mix

Prepare potting mix with 50% normal garden soil + 20% cocopeat + 30% any bulky organic manure like vermicompost and mix them thoroughly. If you don’t have cocopeat then you can mix river sand in the mixture.

Sandy loam soil with 6.0 to 6.8 pH is considered ideal for growing cabbages.



Selection of Pot

Nowadays most of the gardeners have started growing cabbage in growing bags. You can also try purchasing a growing bag of 40 cm height and 24 cm width to grow this vegetable plant.

You can also grow in earthen or cemented pot of 12 inch size with at least 2 to 3 good drainage holes. Growing vegetable plants directly in ground soil gives better results.



Propagation



You can propagate your cabbage plant from good quality disease resistant seeds or you can directly purchase small seedling from the nearest plant nursery.

Avoid purchasing low quality seeds or open seeds from the local store and weak seedlings from the plant nursery. Plant germinated from low quality seeds are weak and doesn’t show good growth.

To grow from seeds take the prepared potting mix and pour them in the germination tray or you can directly sow them in the growing pot or bag. Make sure that the drainage hole are properly managed to remove excess water from the pot.

If you are sowing in germination tray then sow 2 to 3 seeds in each section cover them with a thin layer of potting mix. Apply water on the soil gently and keep your tray or growing pot in shade. 

If you are growing directly in growing bag then sow one seed in the centre of each bag.

Maintain adequate moisture in the tray by sprinkling a little amount of water on the soil but do not apply water in excess. Within 6 days you will notice new plants coming out of the soil.

After one week of sowing seeds put your germination tray in semi shade. Do this process only if your seeds have germinated otherwise wait for few more days.




In the meanwhile keep checking weaker seedlings and remove them. In 3 to 4 weeks your seedlings will become ready to be transplanted. You can transplant your seedlings when they have reached 4 to 5 leaved stage.



Transplantation

To transplant your seedlings either purchased from the plant nursery or grown at home first mix one teaspoon of neem cake powder and bone meal in the prepared potting mix and pour the mixture in the growing container.

If you have germinated the seeds directly in the growing container then add the same amount of neem cake and bone meal around the base of the plant and  apply water gently.

With the help of a finger or a pencil tip make a hole of 2 cm to fit the root region of the seedling in the soil. Take out the seedlings out of the germination tray gently without disturbing its roots.

After putting your seedlings in the soil fix them properly by pressing firmly the soil around the base of the seedlings. After completing the process apply water in the growing container. 

Keep the container in semi-shade region for at least 6 days after it put the container in direct sunlight.

Sunlight 

Cabbage requires 6 to 8 hours of daily direct sunlight to grow properly. It is found that this vegetable plant grows bigger in size if it gets appropriate amount of daily sunlight.



Watering

Cabbage needs good amount of moisture in the soil to grow so watering daily is necessary. Keep checking the soil and if the top layer seems dry then apply water but avoid over watering.

To maintain adequate amount of moisture in the soil you can also apply mulch of chopped straw and cover the pot at the base of the plant. This will help to retain moisture in the soil for longer period.



Fertilizer 

Cabbage is a heavy feeder that needs a good amount of fertlizer to grow. You can apply first doze of fertilizers after 14 days of transplantation. During early stages you should apply fertilizers rich in nitrogen for better growth.

If you are growing organically then apply a handful of organic manure like vermicompost and one teaspoon of bone meal once in a month i.e. after every 15 days. You can also add one teaspoon of neem cake powder. 

If you are growing inorganically then add one spoon of NPK in the ratio 10:10:10 once in a month. You can increase the amount of nitrogen for better results.



Pest and Diseases 

Cabbage plant can get affected with many pest and diseases. They can be Aphids, Imported Cabbageworms, Cabbage loopers, Cabbage root maggots, Clubroot, Cut worms, Flea beetle, Slugs or Snails, Stink bugs, Thrips, Downy mildew, etc.

To prevent your plant from the peat and diseases use good quality disease resistant seeds and spray jeevamrut once in a month.

READ MORE: HOW TO CONTROL APHIDS

READ MORE: 3G CUTTING


Harvesting

mature cabbage

Cabbage will get ready to be harvested in 80 to 160 days after transplantation. Sign of maturity is the curling of leaves at the centre in the top. Once your cabbage has matured you can harvest them.

With the help of a sharp knife cut from the base of the head to take out a healthy vegetable. You can store in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

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