Cabbage is an EASY plant to grow and harvest. In Florida, I start my first batch on the patio in August. Not too hot, easy to control the moisture, sprouting broccoli seeds on my screen patio is my way to get a kick-start on the season.
My perfect potting concoction contains:
1/3 organic black top soil
1/3 worm poop
The rich dense top soil helps retain the moisture while the compost and worm poop provide the nutrients. Cabbage loves it some nitrogen so don’t forget the poop. Worm poop, cow poop, they all work! The seeds are tiny, so only plant them 1/4″ deep.
Allow at least 2-3 weeks’ time on your patio before transplanting to the garden. You want nice, strong sproutlings for the outdoor beds. Anything less, and they might not survive. Once out in the garden, these babies are heavy feeders so make sure you pump in the nutrients and keep the water flowing–heavy in the beginning and then moderate and even. A net like the one shown below and draped over 9 gauge wire hoops does wonders to keep cabbage moths away! These are of the red cabbage variety.
To harvest, simply grab hold of the cabbage head and twist–pop goes the cabbage head! Enjoy fresh in your coleslaw or sautéed with onions. YUM.
Problems: Watch your cabbage as they near maturity. If they get too large, or experience moisture fluctuations in their soil, these heads can split. ICK. Cabbage worms are also a problem for this family. The larvae of moths and butterflies, you’ll want to keep an eye out for white or gray moths hovering around the plant. A strong indication that you’ll have problems with their offspring.
Good Companions: Bush beans, beets, carrot, celery, onions, potatoes. Celery is said to improve growth Chamomile is said to improve flavor of broccoli when planted close.
Bad Companions: Pole beans, eggplant, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes.
Health Benefits: This is a powerhouse when it comes to healing, packed full of anti-oxidants like Vitamin A and Vitamin C, plus Vitamin K and Folate. One of cabbage’s lesser known benefits is its healing power for ulcers from two anti-ulcer compounds, glutamine (an amino acid that fuels the cells that line the stomach and intestine) and S-methyl-methionine (labeled as Vitamin U by Dr. Cheney). Glutamine is available in capsules for those who are too busy to eat or juice cabbage, and is proven as a superior cure to antacids. If you have acid problems, check my cabbage-carrot-apple juice recipe. I tried it and it works!