Is it hard to find how and where to grow cabbage for best results in the USA? Well, we know Cabbage is a leafy vegetable, and it is the rich source of vitamin C and Glutamine, but sometimes lack of knowledge about growing conditions can make it difficult to grow and get best results.
Cabbage is a popular cultivar of species Brassica family, and it is also known as Brassica Oleracea Capitata. It is used in the USA as hardy and green leafy vegetable. It is available in various shades of purple, red and green colors. The shape of the leafy head also varies. Some have crinkly leaves while others have smooth leaves. People normally eat the leafy head of cabbage, and it is used in a variety of dishes for its naturally spicy flavor.
It is grown for its dense leafy heads and produced during the first of its biennial cycle, but sometimes plant does not perform well. What can be the reasons behind it? There are so many factors that affect the performance of plants such as soil types, climatic conditions, locations, pH of soil and much more.
In this guide, we are going to discuss all these factors that play an important role in enhancing the performance of cabbage plant in the USA.
Cabbage is best grown in cool temperature (0& 20°C). But, if you plan growing season (whether spring or fall) and provide good care, you can have two crops of cabbage even in one year. Many varieties of cabbage can be grown during spring and fall which suit your taste preferences and growing conditions. Be careful, sometimes cabbage plant can act as a magnet for some pests.
Younger cabbage plant in a juvenile phase of growth can tolerate both warmers, and colder temperatures but mature plants only flower at the suitable temperature that is less than 10 °C for 5 to 6 weeks.
The environmental condition should be suitable to grow cabbage as low moisture, and high temperature can affect the quality of cabbage when it is harvested. Following are the problems that occur due to inappropriate environmental conditions:
- Small plant with low yield
- Long stem in head
- Dropping of leaves
Note: stops above the temperature of 25 °C.
Soil, Nutrition, and Irrigation
- Cabbage requires fertile soil (nitrogen and potassium rich), but it is sensitive to soil acidity so you should grow it in soil with optimum pH that is 6 to 6.5.
- It is grown on varied types of soil such as mineral, sandy loam, clay and muck soils.
- We can use sub-surface irrigation method where the soil is sandy and has high water table. Drip irrigation can also be used in windy days.
- The cabbage crop is covered by a plastic covering, if it is grown in sandy soil. This plastic covering saves the crop from damage caused by sand particles during windy season. This covering also helps to maintain moisture and soil temperature.
- The cabbage requires proper and continuous irrigation. It requires at least one inch of water every week. If the proper water supply is not maintained, it may result in cracking of cabbage heads.
Things to Taking Care of While Growing Cabbage
There should be a space of 12 to 24 inches between each cabbage plant. It helps in proper growth of cabbage heads. If there is no sufficient space for a cabbage plant to grow, it will result in smaller cabbage heads. If 12 inches of space is maintained between early varieties, it may result in producing cabbage heads weighing up to 3 pounds. Whereas, in this scenario, the later varieties mostly grow up to produce heads weighing 8 pounds.
It is important to learn how to grow this crop. It helps in getting a better yield of cabbage. Below are few things you should take care of while planting cabbage plants:
- Sow the seeds to a depth of at least ½ inches.
- Keep a proper check on water supply. Try to maintain the required moisture level.
- Once they start growing, you should thin them to desired space.
- Soil should be adequately fertile, and nutrients such as nitrogen must be added to it to maintain its fertility. The moisture content of soil should always be maintained. This helps in producing healthy cabbage heads.
When is the Appropriate Time to Harvest Cabbage?
The best time to harvest the cabbage is when you see the heads are grown completely. You must try to harvest it before the head splits. Cabbage is more prone to diseases once the head splits. So to avoid damage to the head, it is better to harvest before it splits. Following things should be taken care while harvesting:
- Harvesting should be done after approximately 70 days of planting. Most of the cabbage varieties take this much time to produce a completely grown head.
- If you want to continue growing second crop, you should not cut the outer leaves and roots should be intact.
- While harvesting if you see any diseased plant, you should remove that quickly. This will prevent the transmission of infection.
It is very important to store cabbage in right way. Following are few tips for storing the cabbage:
- The cabbage should be stored in the shade just after harvesting.
- After that cabbage should be stored in cold storage or refrigerator. It can be stored for two weeks in cold storage. While storing cabbage, it should be wrapped in a plastic
Cabbage is a very beneficial vegetable. It is a rich source of vitamins such as vitamin A and C. It needs a great care to grow and harvest the cabbage plant as it is prone to infections and cannot handle dryness at all. So it is very important to maintain moisture level and remove weeds regularly. It is a quite famous vegetable which is used in various cuisines. It is sometimes used as salad and sometimes it is cooked as a vegetable. Its diverse uses make it a favorite of many cooks.