The “OG” vegetable, cabbage has been planted and harvested longer than any other growing vegetable in history. Dating back to China almost 6,000 years ago and was used as a “cure” for balding men, though no scientific evidence backs this up.
Cabbage can be hard to grow when you are new to gardening because the plant enjoys cool temperatures and tends to attract many pests. In an effort to grow the best cabbages possible, you should mulch the area surrounding the root. This will ensure that the moisture stays in during those hot days, but that it also maintains a cool temperature around the roots. You may also want to add nitrogen to the soil in the beginning stages of growth, this will accelerate the growth of your cabbage if it is applied at the three week point. When thinking of planting companion plants in your garden, cabbage loves spending quality time with beets, celery, herbs, onion and potatoes. It is best to avoid planting cabbage near pole varieties of vegetables.
If you over water cabbage it will absorb all of the water it is given. What you may see happen is that cabbage heads will grow too quickly in size just from water retention, and then heads will split. That being said, cabbage requires a consistently moist soil so be sure to water your cabbage once a week, and supply it with 1.5 inches of water.
The top pests for cabbage are caterpillars, cutworms and cabbage loopers also known as the cabbage white butterfly. You may also have frequent visits from pigeons who love cabbage. To avoid damage from any of these visitors, place a mesh net around the cabbage head. To distract these bugs from eating your plant, add in a layer ofnasturtiums, caterpillars prefer the taste of these and will eat them instead. You can call it your “sacrificial plant”. Black rot is a common disease that affects cabbage, if you see your plant developing small yellow dots that grow into larger black circles, remove the plant.
You should harvest your cabbage when it has reached the desired size and it is firm to press. Most varieties will produce heads that are anywhere between 1-3 pounds. Cut each head of cabbage at its base to harvest, remove any yellow leaves and immediately bring the cabbage indoors in the shade. After harvesting, return back to your garden to remove the leftovers from that head, including the roots and stem to avoid any rot and spread of disease through the garden. To avoid head splitting, twist your cabbage heads ¼ turn one week before harvest this will help to interrupt the water intake for that week to avoid over consuming.
Did you know that traditionally, cabbage has always been planted on St.Patrick’s day and legend says in order for them to grow properly you must plant them while wearing your night clothes! Don’t worry, you can plant your cabbage wearing your regular clothing.