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Cabbage may be cropped 12 months of the year, if a wide enough range of varieties are grown. Cultivation is not difficult, providing that the soil is fairly rich and well prepared.


Cabbage can be pointed, round headed, savoy or unhearted greens. Red, white or green in colour. A very wide range of varieties are available, some dating from Victorian times, as well as a large choice of modern F1 hybrids. A lot of the old varieties have stood the test of time well, and they can still be recommended.


Soil preparation, manuring and fertilizing are the same as all brassicas. A highish pH of 6.7 to 7.0 is ideal (6.0 to 7.5 is tolerable) Apply lime in Autumn according to analysis. Do not apply lime to freshly manured ground. Cabbage prefer soil manured for the previous season. Fresh manure can cause loose heads.


Being a leaf vegetable, a high Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied as a base dressing (NPK in multiples of 4:1:2 by percentage) if soil testing hasn't been carried out. Otherwise apply fertilizer as recommended by soil test results. Further top dressing or liquid feeding may also be neccesary of a high Nitrogen feed.


Magnesium deficiency might show up on cabbage as a reddening of the leaves. Unusual in the UK for soils to be deficient in Mg, as enough falls out of the sky in rain, and is also present in tap water in hard water areas. However deficiencies are possible, especially in soft water areas, peaty soils, acidic soils and other countries of different climate.


Where Magnesium is required due to low pH (acid soils), apply 'Dolomite Lime' also called 'Magnesium Limestone' as well as 'Garden Lime' which provides the Calcium. This will correct the deficiency. Mg is often refered to as a trace element, which it isn't. It is a major element required in about the same amounts as Phosphates.


Sowing of cabbage can be done in trays in the greenhouse during late winter, using a standard multi purpose compost or John Innes seed compost. Prick out into trays or small pots as if growing bedding plants. The greenhouse doesn't need to be heated, although some bottom heat will speed up germination.


Sow into cold frames or hot beds in late Winter or early Spring. Rake to a fine tilth. Sow thinly in drills 15cm apart. A light dressing of balanced fertilizer can be applied, alternatively liquid feed as the young plants grow. Transplanting out into nursery beds shouldn't be required if the seed is sown thinly. Plant out to permanant positions when plants are about 8 to 10 cm tall.


Outdoor sowing into seed beds can start in April and carry on until May. This is dependant on the variety. Spring cabbage are sown in early August and unhearted greens in September.


Distance between plants should be according to the variety. This can be as much as 60cm or as little as 10cm. The instructions will be shown in the catalogue or on the seed packet.


Distance between rows will be between 30cm and 60 cm according to variety.


Top dressing during the growing period can be done if required with Nitro Chalk. Use Dried Blood or Urea if organic Nitrogen fertilizer is prefered.


Caterpillars can be sprayed with a 'Contact Insecticide'. Cabbage root fly larvae and other soil pests can be killed by using a Soil Pesticide according to instructions. Liming should prevent club root.


After cropping, the remains and roots can be chopped up small with the spade and put on the compost heap. Do not return cabbage or any other brassica to the same plot for a minimum or 3 years. Practicing crop rotation helps to prevent a build up of soil pests and therefore reduces the need to use chemicals.









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