Cabbage is one of the most appetizing and nutritious vegetables you can grow in your garden. However, you might experience some difficulty in cultivating cabbage, especially if you have never grown this cruciferous vegetable in the past.
Since cabbage thrives best in cool weather, time your farming appropriately so that you can harvest your crop during winter, early spring or autumn.
Follow these 5 tips for harvesting a bumper crop:
Pick the Right Spot
The leafy green grows to its full potential in cool, sunny climes. That said you will have to sow the seedlings in an area that receives nothing less than 6-7 hours of sunlight. Cabbage thrives in regions that experience long, cool winters with temperatures ranging from 45°F to 75°F.
Well-drained soil abounding in organic matter is ideal for farming cabbage.
Time It Right
Start by sowing seeds indoors at least 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the last frost date in spring. If you wish to start planting seeds outdoors directly, be sure to work on the soil in spring. When the seedlings grow 3 to 4 inches tall, you can transplant them in the garden.
Grow the crop towards the end of spring so you can harvest during the fall if you live in a cool summer clime. The best time to plant the seedlings for gardeners staying in mild-winter climes is during late summer for harvesting in winter or early spring.
Nurture the Beds
Nurture the planting beds in advance by layering the beds with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch such as homemade compost or grass cuttings. Thereafter, till the soil extensively so that the organic mix is embedded at least 10 to 12 inches deep inside the earth. If you are planting in a region where it rains heavily or has sandy soil, enrich the top soil with a nitrogenous fertilizer.
Before planting the saplings, you will have to allow them to adapt to the weather. Keep the potted seedlings outdoors in daylight consecutively for 8-10 days, steadily increasing the number of hours the plants remain outside. You can turn the soil with compost or any other quality organic manure while the plants become hardy.
Transfer the saplings from the pots to the garden when they have 5 to 6 true leaves. Transplant the seedlings in rows 26” to 36” apart and maintain a minimum space of 18” to 24” between any two plants.
Care for the Crop
Make sure the plant beds stay moist, and remember to add manure every 3-4 weeks.
Harvest Your Crop
Your crop will take about 80-180 days to fully mature from seed, based upon the strain. For picking the cabbage, firmly hold the large outer leaves, and slice off the underneath of the cabbage head using a utility knife. Pick cabbages as per your need, and preserve them in the refrigerator.