Why should you try growing organic Cabbages
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I have never grown Cabbages before this year I have to admit, let alone grown organic Cabbages. It was a big learning curve but I successfully picked my first Cabbage this week. It is so good I want to share my enthusiasm for growing this great plant. Oh and I grow organic because I know it is good for my family.
Cabbages are one of the oldest know vegetables and are amongst the first vegetables to be cultivated. Way back in the 14th century there are records of cabbages and they think it was grown way back in 3000 BC! People must have realized early on that these leafy vegetables made a tasty treat.
I am not sure why I put off growing them before, to be honest. But I was determined to grow them after last year’s success with Purple Sprouting Brocolli, in another bed.
Another thing about Cabbages you can grow them all year not just in the summer! I love that.
Where to get your seeds
Pick a reputable organic source if you can like Seeds Now which provide 100% GMO-free Seeds and 100% Heirloom Seeds. I can highly recommend them as I brought seeds from them.
Where to Sow your Organic Cabbages
Cabbages can be either sown directly in the ground outside or in seed trays. If you only want a few cabbages, it is best to sow in seed trays, then transplant outdoors. I planted mine in Cheap and Cheerful Seed pots to plant out late cabbages are sown into a seedbed, a site away from your main vegetable plot, then transplanted later in the season. This is because cabbages take up a lot of room early in the growing season. Space where you could be growing fast-maturing crops, such as lettuce.
Cabbages need a sunny site and firm soil. Wherever possible, prepare the soil in autumn by adding well-rotted manure or garden compost and then leave it over winter to bed in. I added Chicken Compost and this bed had been used to grow Peas and Beans the year before which fills the bed with nitrogen
You should not grow cabbages in the same soil that you grew them (or other brassicas) the previous year.
However, there is nothing stopping you sowing your cabbages into your main vegetable plot, at their final spacings, which is 30-45cm (12-18in) between plants and rows, depending on the cabbage type.
Varieties of Cabbages, so you can grow all year.
All the groups of cabbages are grown in exactly the same way, just the sowing times vary.
- Spring cabbage: like “April” and “Greyhound” Sow in July/August; transplant in September/October.
- Summer cabbage:‘Caramba’, ‘Elisa’ and ‘Castello’ Sow from late February/early March (under cloches or similar cover) until early May; transplant in May/June.
- Winter cabbages: “Tundra” “Savoy” Sow in April/May; transplant in late June/July.
No matter if you are sowing into a seedbed, or into the final growing position. Thoroughly prepare the soil by raking the surface to create a fine, crumbly texture and sow thinly at 1cm deep. When Planting them is give them a big drink of water and water them well when they are forming heads. Don’t let them dry out!
Common Problems of Organic Cabbages or my battle with a butterfly !!
Since May, a cabbage white butterfly and I have been in a battle over my cabbages. Every day since she first turned up in my garden I have been on the hunt for her yellow eggs and removing her offspring before they eat my cabbages. So far I am winning although she won one, I found the offending caterpillar and removed it before they ate too much.
Here are the organic ways to deal with Cabbage issues
- Protective net is great for protecting cabbages again Cabbage root fly and Cabbage White Butterfly
- Hand picking off eggs and caterpillars is only good if you have time and a smaller crop
- Club root is caused by soil-borne fungus and causes your plants to wilt. Prevention is the only real cure and that is done by crop rotation and keeping your site clean. Have good draining soil and never plant in infected soil.
Harvesting Organic Cabbages
Cabbages are harvested by cutting through the stem just above ground level with a sharp knife. Cut a 1cm (½in) deep cross in the stump of spring and summer cabbages and you’ll be rewarded with a second crop of much smaller cabbages.
Recipes with Cabbages
Irish Cabbage and Bacon Soup
- 225g (1/2 lb) good quality back bacon, diced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
- 225ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock, or as needed
- A tin of White Beans drained
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 150g (5 oz) thinly sliced dark green Savoy cabbage leaves
The How to Bit
- Place bacon in a large deep stockpot or saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown.
- Stir in potatoes, tomatoes and beans and enough chicken stock to cover.
- Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
- Stir in cabbage and allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes longer before serving.
I hope you enjoy these growing guides the aim is to help anyone feel like they can grow their own organic vegetables. I mean if I can you can. You can find a few more of these guides below.
- Growing Rhubarb in the Organic Garden
- Growing Courgettes – the How and the Why?
- The Great Carrot Experiment
- 10 Tips to Grow Great Strawberries
Or you can sign up for my Snapshot and Snippets Newsletter and get my Garden Printables which include Quick Growing Guides, A guide to help you plan your veggie garden and a way to record what seeds you are using.
THIS IS PINNABLE ======>