As a great source of vitamin C, glutamine, sulfur and amino acids, cabbages are extremely popular in many vegetable dishes and soups. Due to its high adaptability to different types of soil, climate conditions and storage productions, cabbages are also in high demand when it comes to farming them. Being highly sought after in the market, farmers are now slowly being reeled into farming cabbages, to hopefully gain higher profits and even use their products as a source of food for their families as well. If you are interested in getting into cabbage farming, this article is the ultimate guide for beginners.
Varieties of cabbages
With so many species of cabbages, how do you know which variety of cabbage you should choose? Each variety comes with its own pros and cons, so be sure to select the one that suits your needs and environment the best!
- Red and Chinese Cabbages — Some examples of these are the Ruby Perfection and Lei-Choy. They are usually only able to be harvested during fall.
- Golden Acre — A popular choice amongst farmers due to its quick harvest time. These include the Primo and Stone head.
- Blue Vintage and Cheer — They are known for their disease-resistant qualities
- Murdoc — Typically produces delicate and syrupy leaves that are great for cooking
- Red Delight and Acre — Purple varieties that are extremely simple and easy to grow
Since cabbages are known for their great adaptability, they can thrive on a range of soil types, including sandy loam and clay. However, the soil has to firstly, be well-drained in order for your cabbages to grow well, as too much moisture in the soil may hinder your batch’s growth. The pH level, however, has to be maintained at a range of 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil’s pH level falls below 4.5, the petal boundaries may be damaged.
Cabbages grow well when the surrounding temperatures are cool, moist and humid. As such, the months of August and September in the US are best for early mature seedlings while September and October are ideal months for late maturers to be cultivated. If the weather gets too hot and dry, the flavor of the cabbages when cooked will be lost and spoiled. Furthermore, the humidity levels should be regulated at about 90 to 100 percent to allow your cabbages to stay fresh and flavourful.
When you start planting your cabbage seeds, make sure that they are in an environment where the temperature ranges from 39 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, they have to be kept indoors before last frost. The seeds should be nurtured indoors first for about four months before they can be planted outdoors before two to three months of frost is experienced.
Apart from that, the spacing of the seeds is also important in determining how successful your batch of cabbages are. Firstly, the seedlings have to be planted with a depth of ¼ to ½ inches while about 1 to 5 inches has to be provided for the roots to grow. The measurements of the height and width should be about 12 to 15 inches and 24 to 40 inches respectively. For early-maturing varieties, the seed rate should be kept at 500 grams per hectare, with a distance of 45 cm between rows and 30 cm between each individual plant. On the other hand, late-maturing varieties should abide by the seed rate of 400 grams per hectare, with a distance of 60 cm between rows and 45cm between plants.
When you have sowed your seeds for 25 days, you have to further space out your rows at an 18” distance and a 15” distance for beds; while the space between double rows should range between 24 to 30 inches. Though many people like to grow other crops alongside cabbages to increase profitability like carrots and onions, do take note that certain vegetables may end up taking away the nutrients from cabbages, causing the cabbages to be reduced in size and shape. It is hence not advisable to grow them beside cabbages. Some of these examples include strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Caring for your cabbages
Cabbages require a frequent water supply to sustain their growth. During the hotter and drier seasons, ensure that your batch is given enough water. Drying out can cause plant bolting and may cause your cabbages to emit a bitter taste when cooked. On average, cabbages need about 11/2 inches of rain per week and if your climate does not have much rainfall, watering your plants is crucial to maintain a constant water supply. Approximately, 10 liters of water is required for every meter square of land, and some useful tools to water your plants include jugs, regular hoses, and soaker hoses. Furthermore, the land that your cabbages are growing on has to be waterlogged weekly but do ensure that the pressure is not too strong as it can cause your soil to decay.
When your cabbages are destroyed by pests and insects and turn yellow, it is recommended that you remove them. Moreover, ensure that the soil is not soggy and mushy for a long period of time. On the other hand, having extremely dry soil will also be harmful to your cabbages, When this happens, a good tip is to dig about three inches down as the soil below will contain more moisture.
Weeds can cause damage to the roots of the cabbages and cause them to fight for sunlight, water, and nutrients with your crops. Weeds should be removed regularly before and after you fertilize the soil and it is done by a process known as dredging. If you use the drilling method, be sure to use it with caution to prevent bruising your crops. Hoeing herbicides should also be done simultaneously to help destroy the weeds more effectively.
With all this information and knowledge that you have now, you are ready to become a cabbage farmer! A pro tip is to do more research on your own and talk to peers who already own a farm to get some tips and tricks from them. Cabbage farming is actually very simple once you master the art of it, and ensure that the right soil, tools, and equipment are used to ensure that your cabbages grow healthily and quickly. Watering them regularly and controlling the growth of weeds is also crucial in promoting growth. As long as you have the patience and effort to care for your crops, your cabbages will be harvested in a blink of an eye!