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How to Grow Cabbage

Cabbage is cultivated for its head, which is densely leafed, and it is grown in the first year of a two-year life cycle. It can grow best in well-drained soil with maximum exposure to sunlight. Each type of cabbage variety has specific requirements like soil type. Soil can vary from heavier clay to lighter sand. The optimum condition is fertile soil with 6.0-6.8 pH. For best growth during the early formation stage of the cabbage, a suitable amount of nitrogen is required in the soil. A suitable amount of potassium and phosphorous in the soil is required during the starting stages of outer leaves expansion.

Related to Cabbage

Temperatures required to grow Cabbage

Cabbage best grows in 4 and 24 °C temperature, but above and below, this causes premature bolting. Vernalization is a process by which a plant is induced to flower. When the cabbage plant is past the juvenile stage, flowering is induced by small exposure to low temperature. This transition of the juvenile stage to adults occurs when the diameter of the stem is 6mm. Vernalization facilitates the plant to reach a suitable size before flowering. In some places like the eastern US, cabbage can be cultivated at the start of the winter, and it can survive until a warm period without vernalization

How to plant Cabbage seeds

Generally, seeds are planted in artificially controlled conditions before the start of the growing season. Later, when the season comes, they are transplanted outside into the field from where it is harvested. But some seeds are directly cultivated in the field from where it is harvested. Seeds planted 13mm in the soil at 20-30 °C temperature can emerge as seedlings in 4-6 days.

Cabbage seedlings should be placed 30-60 cm away from each other. Closely placed plants affect the plant's growth by limiting the fewer nutrients available to each plant and less exposure to the sunlight. This plant takes excess time to reach the mature stage. Flowering cabbage is harvested because it is famous for ornamental use. It is in green and purple with no head, and large outer green and purple leaves, respectively, with lighter shade leaves inside.

When should Cabbage be harvested?

Early cabbage varieties take approximately 70 days from cultivating to reach maturity, but late varieties take approximately 120 days. When cabbage is solid and firm, it is mature and ready to be harvested from below the lower leaves with a sharp blade. The outer leaves are discarded because of any damage, disease, and necrosis. Due to stem and inner leaves continuing growth, the head can be split if harvesting is delayed.

If cabbage is cultivated for seeds, it should be planted 1.5 km away from other wild or B. oleracea subspecies to stop cross-pollination. But some Brassica species, like B. rapaRaphanus sativus, B. juncea,  B. napus, and B. nigra , do not cross-pollinate.

Diseases that can affect Cabbage

The cabbage nutrient requirements level is high. So, it is susceptible to many nutrient deficiencies, including calcium, boron, potassium, and phosphorus. There are many physiological disorders that can affect cabbage's appearance after harvest, like inside leaves margins turn brown but outer leaves remain normal, also known as internal tip burn. Near the oval sunken spot and around the midrib, a group of necrotic spots can occur.  Sometimes black spots between the veins can occur, known as pepper spots, which may be increased during storage.

Cabbage seedlings can be affected by fungal diseases: wire stem cause dying or weak transplants; Fusarium yellows cause stunted growth and yellow-leaved twisted plants; and blackleg cause sunken zones on stems and spots of gray-brown color on leaves. 

The fungi "A. brassicicola" and "Alternaria brassicae" affect plants by developing dark spots on the leaf. Both are airborne and seed-borne and mostly transmitted to plant from remaining debris of infected plants within 12 weeks of its harvesting.

Rhizoctonia solani causes a disease called wire stem in the post-emergence of seedlings. It causes seedlings to die, stunted growth or root rot, and also smaller heads.

Cabbage is also affected by bacterial diseases like black rot,  Clubroot, and Downy mildew.

Pests that are common to Cabbage

Pests that can damage cabbage include cabbage maggots and root-knot nematodes, aphids, harlequin cabbage bugs, thrips,  striped flea beetles, caterpillars, diamondback moth, cabbage moth, cabbage looper, and cabbage root fly.

Cultivation of cabbage near other cabbage family species and where related species have been cultivated previously can lead to disease and pests attack. Excessive heat and unnecessary water can also lead to cultivation problems.

Factors that affect the growth of head of cabbage are drought, growth in the compacted soils, disease incidence, insect attack, waterlogging, weeds, and shading.


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