Written by Mike the Gardener
A perfect crop of choice for your fall garden is cabbage. That is, if you like cabbage. There are a wide variety of culinary uses for cabbage, coleslaw being my favorite, that you are bound to find a great recipe.
Cabbage is a great crop to consider planting this time of the year because the temperatures right now in most areas of the country are perfect for seed germination. As the season moves along and the temperatures begin to drop, your cabbage plants will be a perfect size, and will thrive in the cooler temperatures. Add in a cold frame, or some row covers, and you can grow cabbage well into the colder months.
Grow Cabbage Now
Many varieties of cabbage can take up to 100 days to reach full maturity, so if you have not done so yet; get your cabbage seeds started now. I would recommend that you first mix into your soil some well aged compost, and then direct sow your cabbage seeds.
How Much Space Will You Need?
Depending on which variety of cabbage you are growing will determine how far apart you should plant. A good rule of thumb is at least one foot apart. Plant them further apart if you have the room. Many varieties of cabbage such as, Late Flat Dutch, Red Acre, Golden Acre and Brunswick require plenty of room, where Chinese varieties such as Pak Choy or Michihli can get away with less.
Caring for Your Cabbage
Cabbage grows best when the soil is moist, so a light watering each day should suffice. Be sure to feed your cabbage plants weekly with a good organic fertilizer. I like to use manure and compost tea for this application.
Cabbage is susceptible to insect damage as it is one of those crops that appeals to a wide range of destructive pests. Use a good homemade garlic & pepper spray on your cabbage plants to deter pests naturally while at the same time not harming your plants. You can make a spray yourself very easily or buy one at a garden center.
Harvesting & Nutrition
When firm, your cabbage is ready to be harvested. To harvest your head of cabbage, make sure you cut the head off from the plant just below the plant’s lowest leaves.
Cabbage is an excellent source of many vitamins as well as good source for fiber, containing as much as 20% of the recommended daily value of each.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike is a member of the Garden Writers Association and you can listen to him each week on the Vegetable Gardening Show where he interviews gardening industry experts.