A fairly popular, easy-to-grow vegetable in most gardens, cabbage is nondemanding and very hardy to frosts. Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable suited to both spring and fall planting. It belongs to the cole crop family, which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. The trick to growing cabbage is steady, uninterrupted growth. That means rich soil, plenty of water, and good fertilization. Cabbage contains loads of vitamin A and C and is delicious either raw or cooked!
Cabbage comes in a range of sizes, shapes (round or flat heads), colors (red or various shades of green), and leaf textures (smooth or crinkled) as well as early- to late-season varieties. Savoy cabbage has pretty crinkled leaves and is among the most frost-tolerant cabbage varieties, making it a great choice for fall gardens!
Add nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure to the soil or work a timed-release vegetable food such as 14-14-14 into the soil before planting.
You can buy transplants from Green Thumb nursery, but cabbage is easy to grow from seed. Sow seeds indoors, ¼ inch deep and 2 inches apart, around mid-January or February. Place in a sunny spot and keep the soil evenly moist. When daytime temperatures reach 50°F and seedlings have three leaves, plant them outdoors. Set plants so that 1-2” of the main stem is buried. Space 1-2 feet apart.
Holes in a cabbage’s leaves are a sure sign that cabbageworms or cabbage loopers may be attacking your plant. Look for these green pests on the underside of leaves and pick them off. Good growing conditions, crop rotation, and the use of disease-resistant varieties are the best defense against cabbage-family crop problems. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering, because constantly wet leaves are prone to disease. Cut back on water as cabbage matures.
Squeeze the cabbage head to test whether it’s ready to harvest or not. If the head feels solid and firm, it’s ready to be cut from the base of the plant. If it feels loose, leave in the garden to harden up a little longer. Heads can be kept for several weeks in the fridge. Clean carefully, because heads may harbor hidden insects!
Health Benefits of Cabbage
‘January King’, ‘Filderkraut’, ‘Charleston Wakefield’, ‘Melissa’ and ‘Drumhead’ (both savoys)
Lyons English Grill Cabbage Soup
Cook time: 30-40 minutes Yield: Serves 4
Sauté ground beef in large pot over medium-high heat until browned. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add broth, tomato juice, tomato soup, garlic powder, sugar, cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until cabbage is very tender-about 20-30 minutes.
Each serving: 121 calories, 716 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.83 grams fiber
Your garden is almost at a standstill this month. It seems that winter veggies take a loooong time to grow! We look forward to every leaf of lettuce and spinach, every broccoli florette, every kohlrabi and cabbage, every cauliflower head. We’re either glad we planted so much in the fall or regretting that we didn’t!
Aside from transplanting or adding more plant “starts” (many local nurseries still have a supply of winter veggies), most gardening activity is limited to pruning and spreading soil amendments. Too much digging is not a good idea, since the soil retains a good deal of water: disturbing it too much will compact it and destroy its tilth.
Some seeds will sprout outdoors, given a little time, including beets, chard, kale, leeks, bibb and iceberg lettuces, peas, radishes, carrots, and savoy spinaches.
January is a good month to send away for seed catalogs. On cold days it’s nice to dream about warmer days and plan your spring garden!
Frost continues to be likely on dry, windless, clear nights. Plants are less susceptible to frost damage when they have been sufficiently watered—keep soil barely moist. Keep frost-protection coverings, especially those made of plastic sheeting, away from the foliage, or the foliage will more readily freeze. Frost “hoops” used with lightweight cloth are a great way to protect your plants from freezing.
Soil amendments applied to the soil surface now will decay over the winter, and their nutrients will wash into the soil gradually with each rain. Which amendments your soil needs can be determined best by a soil test. Healthy plant root growth and overall plant vigor depends on a moist and loose soil.
Keep your garden tidy. Keep leaves and litter raked up. Unwanted pests and critters can hide in a messy garden.
Irrigation for Winter Months
Be sure to adjust your water timer accordingly for winter watering. Watering in the mid-morning for 5-7 minutes every other day is sufficient.
All water timers must be covered to avoid breaking during a freeze. The best preventive measure is to cover your timer, the red water valve and the PVC pipes in your plot. We have had numerous pipes break this season due to the extremely low morning temperatures and also due to being left uncovered in the elements.
If you need help with any of these things, send us an email and we will be glad to help you out!
The Annual Garden Meeting was held on Sunday, 12.7.14. Everyone enjoyed a buffet of appetizers and desserts supplied by our wonderful garden members! A powerpoint picture presentation of our beautiful Gardens was enjoyed throughout the meeting. John Windsor spoke on organic gardening, soil preparation, and the importance of crop rotation. Valuable handouts were given for future reference. The new Garden Council for 2015 was voted on as well as amendments to the Bylaws were passed. Plot renewal fees were collected and paperwork was signed. A silent auction was held to auction off “donations” left in vacant garden plots.
Our new 2015 Garden Council!