Cabbage is one of the vegetables that not everyone loves, but it has many uses. Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked and can also be fermented into sauerkraut which can be kept for a long time. I like cabbage thinly sliced, steamed with butter, salt, pepper and with a dash of apple cider vinegar. We do enjoy our sauerkraut as well. Some of our favorite varieties to grow are savoy verona purple, savoy green vertus and copenhagen market.
How and when to sow your Cabbage seeds
We like to sow our cabbage seeds in March into trays before transplanting them into a garden bed. This allows us to get a jump start on the cool season as in Perth we still can have some very hot weather in March. Space the plant out between 40-50cm apart.
Where to plant your Cabbage
Cabbage is a cool-season plant but loves the sun and is a hungry plant. So, we plant them in a garden bed that has full sun and prepare the garden bed by adding fresh compost, manure, blood and bone, organic slow-release fertiliser and a good layer of mulch.
Caring for your Cabbages
Keep your cabbages well-watered to stop the heads from splitting. If transplanted out in early autumn, you made need to set up a shade structure as here in Perth we can still get some very hot weather which may cause the plants to bolt. We also remove dead or dying leaves.
Harvesting your Cabbages
Depending on the variety of cabbage you are growing but can be ready to harvest from 70-100 days. The cabbage head is ready to harvest when the head becomes firm.
Common Problems with Cabbage
Here are the problems we have come across when growing cabbages
Unfortunately caterpillars love cabbages as much as we, to keep them in control inspect plant regularly and pick off. If you are finding you have to many to control you can try spray with bacteria spray containing bacilus thuringiensis or after removing the caterpillar you can cover with insect netting.
These are dark grey insect normally found on the underside of the leaves. Pay attention for these little aphids as they can soon take over and spread to other brassicas.
Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails are our biggest problem with cabbages, unlike caterpillars which can’t be excluded with netting slugs and snails can’t. Here is how we control slugs and snails.
This seems to be seasonal, if we grow are cabbages during the cooler months, we don’t have the issue. There are couple of ways to control white fly if in small number we like to just squish them on the backs of the leaves, in larger number you can use a vacuum cleaner to suck them off or use a horticultural oil and spray.
We have had a big issue with rats this year, just as cabbage is almost ready for picking you go out and they have destroyed. Best method for controlling is trapping, baits can be use but can lead to secondary poisoning in bird, cats and dogs if they get hold of a dead rat.
Good companion plants are bush bean, beeroot, onions, marigold, nasturtium, dill, thyme and sage.
Avoid planting with climbing beans, strawberries, mustard, carrots and parsnips.
Read here how to make sauerkraut with your cabbages.