Taking care of cabbage is something that relatively easy to do. Unfortunately, just because it is easy to do, does not mean that you don't have to work at it. Luckily, cabbage care is something that even the most novice of gardeners can accomplish, as long as they know the basics. Here are a few simple guidelines that you can use to help you determine whether you are providing the best possible cabbage care for your budding heads.
- Planting. The trick to planting cabbage lies in actually knowing when to plant the cabbages. Typically, when you begin growing your cabbages, you should begin them in small pots. As a seedling, cabbages should be kept in the pots for no more than six weeks prior to planting in your garden. If you are wanting to have a fall harvest, then you should begin growing your seedlings around May 27th, so that you can transplant them to the actual garden around July 1st. Keep in mind though that cabbages are biennial, which means that the first year you plan them, they will only flower the first year, and bear fruit the second. For an ongoing crop, keep this two year cycle in mind.
- Watering and fertilizing. Cabbages are voracious feeders, so they will need to have plenty of fertilizer when you initially plant them. On average you should use about two pounds of fertilizer (which translates to 20-20-20 per 100 feet) for each row. Three weeks after planting and fertilizing, side dress the rows of cabbages with some ammonium sulphate, being sure that you do not use more than 1/2 cup for every ten feet. When watering your cabbages, you will want to provide enough water to promote growth, without water logging the soil. The best way to do this is to water your cabbages regularly every two days, adjusting for any rain fall that you may receive.
- Pests. Cabbages are a favorite treat of loopers and aphids. Take precautions, such as covering your plants with nettings, during the peak times for these common garden pests. Another method to control these pests would be to use organic pesticides to get rid of the infestation.
- Harvesting. On average, your plant will be ready for harvesting around the middle of October if you planted for a fall harvest. Depending on the specific type of cabbage that you chose to plant, you may not see a head. Some cabbages will simply look like a bunch of loose leaves. So do not go solely by the look of the plant as the indicator of when to harvest your cabbage.