It's time to talk cabbage in Veggie Bootcamp. Want to try growing it this season? Come visit* the Rulfs Farmers Market in Peru, NY for starter plants and read on for tips!
Cabbage is a hardy, leafy veggie that prefers cool temperatures. It is incredibly healthy for you, boasting antioxidant properties and being packed with nutrients including Vitamins A, C, and K. It's also good for your digestion, metabolism, and nervous system.
Before planting your starters from the Rulfs Veggie House, prepare the soil by mixing in compost and/or aged manure. Your soil should be well draining, as cabbage roots that stand in water are bad news for the health of the plant! Cabbages are heavy feeders, quickly taking nutrients from the soil they are in. Keep yours happy and well fed by fertilizing a fortnight after planting with a balanced fertilizer, and three weeks after that add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil. Cabbages need nitrogen, particularly in their early stages.
Take into account the spacing of your starters, too, as the closer your cabbages grow to one another, the smaller they will be when it comes time to harvest. If you plan to harvest in the fall, get your starters into the ground around mid-to-late summer - but make sure the young plants don't dry out in the heat of that summer sun! Soil temps should be 60 to 65° F for growth, so consider mulching around the plants to keep the soil moist and cool.
When the cabbage heads reach your desired size and are firm to the touch, it's time to think about harvesting. Take a sharp knife and cut each cabbage head at its base. Keep any loose leaves, as they offer protection when the cabbage is being stored. Bring indoors or put in the shade immediately. Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks - make sure it is dry before storing it.
If you're feeling adventurous, why not go for two cabbage crops! Cut the cabbage head out of the plant but leave the outer leaves and root in the garden. The plant will grow new heads! Pinch the excess heads off, leaving four or so. Let these grow until about the size of a tennis ball and then harvest and enjoy.
Once you are all done with your cabbage plants, remove the entire stem and root systems from your plants from the ground to stop disease. You can compost these parts of the plant if your plant is healthy.
Here are some recipes to try with your home-grown cabbage!
TIP: No one likes the smell of boiling cabbage, so drop walnuts (shells still on!) into the water - they will absorb the odor!
Share your own recipes and tips on our Facebook and spread the veggie love!
*While stocks last. Our Veggie Starters sell fast, and so we cannot guarantee availability of any one item.
*We ask that all visitors please follow social distancing guidelines of leaving 6 feet between you and others, and, where possible, wearing masks to reduce the risk to yours and other households. Thank you in advance!