Cabbage is from the mustard family and includes cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, collards and Brusell sprouts. There are two main types of cabbage - flat leaf and savoy, which is the crinkle leaved variety. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has a large variety of cabbages to choose from including early and late varieties.
Start seeds indoors 12 weeks before the last frost (February for zone 5). Transplant into garden 5 weeks before the last frost (1st week in April for zone 5) 12-18” inches apart or 1 per square. Plant in rich, moist soil in full sun. For fall harvest, start seeds in June and transplant in the fall.
Cabbage needs lots of water until the head is formed, you can cut back once the head is formed. Remove any bottom leaves that have turned yellow, they can carry fungus and disease that will spread. Apply a good amount of compost to the soil before planting, and feed with compost tea every two weeks, cabbage is a heavy feeder. Mulch to retain moisture and keep cool right after transplanting.
Hyssop, thyme and wormwood help repel the white cabbage butterfly. Cabbage loves aromatic herbs such as celery, dill, chamomile, and rosemary as well as onions and potatoes. Do not plant by strawberries, tomatoes or pole beans. Crop rotation is a must for cabbage, plant where tomatoes or peppers were the year before.
Cut off the entire head with a knife anytime the head develops and feels firm. Once too hot, cabbages will split their heads so be sure to harvest before then. Occasionally another head can form from the root. Wrap the cabbage tightly in plastic wrap and store in fridge until ready to use. You can also make sauerkraut for long term storage.
Cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, phytochemcials, antioxidants, several minerals including iron, potassium and magnesium. The leaves contain anti-inflammatory properties so wrapping a wound in cabbage leaves will aid in healing, cabbage can also lower cholesterol.
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