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Cabbage

Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that grows especially


well in fertile soils. There are various shades of
green available, as well as red or purple types.
Head shape varies from the standard round to
flattened or pointed. Most varieties have smooth
leaves, but the Savoy types have crinkly textured
leaves.
Cabbage is easy to grow if you select suitable
varieties and practice proper culture and insect
management. lways regarded as a good source of
vitamins, cabbage recently has been shown to
have disease!preventive properties as well.
Recommended Varieties
"reen cabbage is grown more often than the red or Savoy types, but red cabbage has
become increasingly popular for color in salads and cooked dishes. The Savoy varieties
are grown for slaw and salads. #arieties that mature later usually grow larger heads and
are more suitable for making sauerkraut than the early varieties. ll the varieties listed
here are resistant to fusarium wilt $%yellows%& unless otherwise indicated. ll are hybrid
varieties unless marked '(, for open!pollinated variety.
Green Cabbage
Cheers $)* days to harvest+ solid round heads+ tolerant to black rot and thrips&
Early Jersey Wakefield $'( ! ,- days+ pointed heads+ stands well+ resists splitting&
King Cole $). days+ large+ firm+ extremely uniform heads&
Savoy Cabbage
Savoy King $/* days to harvest+ dark, green color+ very uniform&
Savoy ueen $// days+ * pounds+ deep green color+ good heat tolerance&
Red Cabbage
Red !eteor $)* days to harvest+ firm+ good for all seasons&
Ruby "all $)0 days+ . pounds+ slow to burst+ resists both cold and heat&
When #o $lant
Transplant early cabbage soon enough that it matures before the heat of summer. Many
varieties are available and two or three varieties with different maturities can provide
harvest over a long period. Hardened plants are tolerant of frosts and can be planted
among the earliest of cool!season garden vegetables. Cabbage is easily transplanted
from either bare!root or cell!pack!grown plants. 1ate cabbage must be started during the
heat of mid!summer, but it develops its main head during the cooling weather of fall. 2t
may be transplanted or seeded directly in the garden. 2n summer, if possible, place seed
flats or seedbeds where some protection from the sun is available, either natural or
artificial. Try especially hard during this season to transplant on cloudy, overcast or rainy
days for minimi3ing shock from the direct sun of summer.
S%acing & 'e%th
Space plants 04 to 4. inches apart in the row, depending upon the variety and the si3e
of head desired. The closer the spacing, the smaller the heads. 5arly varieties are
usually planted 04 inches apart in all directions. 5arly varieties produce 0 to - pound
heads and later varieties produce . to / pound heads. Sow cabbage seed 06. to 064 inch
deep. 7eep the seeds moist and thin or transplant the seedlings to the desired spacing.
The plants removed may be transplanted to another row or flat.
Care
8se starter fertili3er when transplanting and side!dress with nitrogen fertili3er when the
plants are half grown. Cultivate shallowly to keep down weeds. mple soil moisture is
necessary throughout the growing season to produce good cabbage. 2rrigation is
especially important in fall plantings to help the young plants withstand the intense
sunlight and heat of summer and to supply the developing heads with sufficient water to
develop 9uickly.
(arvesting
Cabbage can be harvested anytime after the heads form. :or highest yield, cut the
cabbage heads when they are solid $firm to hand pressure& but before they crack or split.
;hen heads are mature, a sudden heavy rain may cause heads to crack or split wide
open. The exposed internal tissue soon becomes unusable. Harvest and salvage split
heads as soon as possible after they are discovered.
2n addition to harvesting the mature heads of the cabbage planted in the spring, you can
harvest a later crop of small heads $cabbage sprouts&. These sprouts develop on the
stumps of the cut stems. Cut as close to the lower surface of the head as possible,
leaving the loose outer leaves intact. <uds that grow in the axils of these leaves $the
angle between the base of the leaf and the stem above it& later form sprouts. The
sprouts develop to 4 to . inches in diameter and should be picked when firm. Continue
control of cabbage worms and other pests. 2f this control cannot be maintained, remove
and destroy or compost the stumps, because they serve as a breeding ground for
diseases and insect pests.
Common $roblems
)ellow or fusarium wilt is a relatively common disease that causes the leaves of plants
to wilt and die. The first sign of the disease is yellowing and browning of the lower
leaves. The plants are stunted before wilting occurs. "row yellows!resistant $=>& or
yellows!tolerant varieties. Most modern hybrids have this tolerance or resistance bred
into them.
"lackleg and black rot are two diseases that cause severe losses. The plants may be
stunted, turn yellow and die. <lackleg is named for the black cankers on the stem. The
taproot often rots away. <lack rot can be recogni3ed by large, #!shaped, yellow!to!brown
areas in the leaves, starting at the leaf edge. The veins turn black. Soft rot usually
follows black!rot infection.
Control is essentially the same for blackleg and black rot. <oth diseases are spread by
seed, transplants and insects. <uy seed that has been hot!water treated to kill the
disease organisms. ?o not buy transplants that are wilted, are an unhealthy shade of
green, or have black spots on the stems or leaves.
;hen you find diseased plants in the garden, collect the leaves, stems and tops+ and
burn or dispose of them. ?o not put diseased plants into the compost pile. void cultural
practices $crowding, overwatering, planting in poorly drained soil and inade9uate insect
control& that support the disease organisms of black rot and blackleg. 2f possible, grow
black!rot!resistant varieties.
uestions & *nswers
+ What can , do to %revent my cabbage heads from s%litting-
. Splitting is caused by the pressure of excessive water taken up after the heads are
solid. Cutting the roots $spading on two sides of the plant& or breaking the roots $lifting
and twisting the head to one side& can often reduce excessive splitting or bursting, but it
also damages the plant and re9uires that the head be harvested relatively soon.
+ What causes cabbage to develo% seedstalks rather than solid heads-
. Cabbage plants %bolt% $form premature seedstalks& when they are exposed to low
temperatures $-* to .* degrees :& for extended periods. Such chilling may happen if
plants are set out too early or if an unseasonable blast of cold assaults the garden. fter
the plants have stems as large as a pencil, they are sub@ect to this %cold conditioning,%
that initiates the flowering response.
+ What is flowering cabbage-
. Aonheading varieties of cabbage $similar to flowering kale& have been developed for
ornamental uses. They have colorful white, pink or red rosettes of leaves surrounded by
green or purple outer leaves. Most colorful during cool fall weather, they should be
started in early summer to midsummer and set out with fall and winter plantings of
regular, heading varieties of cabbage. :lowering cabbage $and flowering kale& are edible
as well as ornamental.
+ Why do butterflies fly around my cabbage %lants-
. Those butterflies $white or brown& are probably the moths of cabbage worms. They
lay eggs on the plants. The eggs hatch into the worms that cause considerable damage
unless controlled. Most control strategies are aimed at the developing larvae rather than
the mature moths themselves.
+ What causes large. lum%y swellings of my cabbage roots- #he %lants also are
stunted+
. Swellings and distorted roots on stunted, wilted plants may be symptoms of clubroot
disease. This disease is caused by a fungus that remains in the garden soils for many
years once it becomes established. 2t is spread by movement of infested soil and
infected transplants. 'ther related cole crops $like broccoli and cauliflower& also may
become infected. 2f you suspect that you have clubroot disease in your garden, ask your
local 5xtension office for help. 2f, in fact, you have clubroot in a location, destroy infected
plant parts $including the roots& and for at least . years avoid planting any member of the
cabbage family there, including radishes, turnips and ornamental relatives of cabbage.
Selection & Storage
Harvest large, unsplit heads of green cabbage. 1ook for tight, heavy heads, free of
insects and decay. :resh, uncut heads of cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for
up to two weeks. Cover loosely with a plastic bag or use perforated bags. ?o not wash
cabbage before storing, the extra moisture will hasten deterioration.
Green cabbage B "reen cabbage is sometimes called ?utch ;hite. The outer leaves
are dark green and the inner leaves are smooth and pale to medium green. 2f you plan to
eat the cabbage raw, use within a few days. Cabbage that you plan to cook can be
stored in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
Savoy cabbage B Crinkly, with waves of blue!green leaves, Savoy cabbage is a
beautiful sight growing in the garden. These thin, richly flavored leaves are ideal served
raw in salads or cooked. Cooked Savoys do not have the strong sulfur odor of green
cabbage. Savoy only keep for about . days in the refrigerator so buy it when you plan to
use it.
Red cabbage B This variety is usually smaller and denser than heads of green
cabbage. The flavor of red cabbage is slightly peppery and it is very susceptible to color
change. Cook red cabbage with vinegar $or other acidic ingredient& or it will turn an ugly
blue!gray color. lways use stainless steel knives and cookware when preparing red
cabbage to prevent color changes.
/utritional Value & (ealth "enefits
There are literally hundred of varieties of cabbage. The most popular varieties in the
8nited States are green cabbage and bok choy. s with broccoli, cabbage is a
cruciferous vegetable and may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer including
colorectal cancers. Cabbage is also high in beta!carotene, vitamin C and fiber. 'ther
substantial nutrients in a half cup cooked cabbage include the following.
/utrition 0acts $064 cup cooked green cabbage&
Calories 12
?ietary fiber 3+4 grams
Carbohydrates 5+2 mg
#itamin C 16+3 mg
$re%aration & Serving
Cabbage is king of the cruciferous vegetable family. Sadly, many think of cabbage as an
odoriferous and unpleasant vegetable. Cooked cabbage has been wrongfully accused of
smelling!up kitchens and hallways everywhere. <ut donCt blame the cabbage, blame the
cook. The notorious odor problem is a result of over cooking. Cabbage contains
isothiocynates that break down into smelly sulfur compounds during cooking. The
reaction is even stronger in aluminum pans. The longer the cabbage is cooked the more
smelly the compounds become. The solution+ a brief cooking time. Cook @ust until tender
and use stainless steel pots and pans.
There is another adverse effect associated with cabbage B gas. <acteria that live
naturally in the intestinal tract degrade the dietary fiber $indigestible carbohydrates& in
cabbage, producing gas that some find distressing. 2n spite of this unpopular side effect,
cabbage offers huge benefits that cannot be ignored.
'ne medium head $4!064 pounds& of green cabbage yields D cups shredded raw and )
cups cooked. The top portion of the cabbage head is more tender and shreds easier
than the bottom. 2f it is practical, cut the head hori3ontal and use the top, raw in salads
and slaw and use the bottom half in cooked recipes.
(ome $reservation
The most popular and successful method of preserving cabbage is pickling. 7imchee
and sauerkraut are fermented, pickled products which take days to make. <oth are
made by immersing shredded cabbage in a salt solution strong enough to kill off
pathogens while allowing beneficial bacteria to grow. :ollow the instructions precisely. 2f
too little salt is used, the cabbage spoils+ too much salt prevents fermentation.
Reci%es
Cabbage flavor is compatible with many herbs and spices. Steamed cabbage can be
seasoned with anise, basil, caraway and celery seeds, dill, mustard, fennel, nutmeg,
oregano, black pepper, savory and tarragon.
"raised Green Cabbage with Garden Vegetables
2f you are lucky, the cabbage, green bell peppers and onions will all come from your
garden. This recipe can be cut in half by using only half a head of cabbage.
0 head green cabbage $about 4 064 lbs&, shredded
0 medium onion, chopped or . green onions chopped with green tops
0 medium bell pepper, cut into 064 inch s9uares
0 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes $optional&
4 cloves garlic, chopped
06. cup olive oil or peanut oil
0 cup water or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Have all ingredients ready before you start to cook. >emove any decaying outer leaves
and wash cabbage+ remove core. >emove dark green leaves, cut away tough ribs, roll
together into a scroll and cut across into thin shreds. Set aside. Cut cabbage into
9uarters and shred thinly. Set aside separate from dark green outer leaves. Chop onions
and bell pepper and set aside. (eel and smash garlic cloves with side of knife, chop
coarsely, set aside.
8se a large $* 9uart& stainless steel ?utch oven or pan with lid or use a nonstick surface
wok. Heat pan over medium high heat for a few seconds until hot. dd oil to hot pan,
immediately add onions and bell peppers and stir for about one minute. dd shredded
dark green cabbage, stir for another -E seconds. dd crushed red pepper and garlic,
continue to cook and stir for 0* seconds. ?o not allow garlic to brown. dd two handfuls
of cabbage stirring for about -E seconds, continue adding cabbage and stirring at -E
second intervals until all of the cabbage is in the pot. dd water or chicken stock, cover
immediately and continue cooking for 0E minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.
dd more water if necessary. ;hen cabbage is done, almost all of the li9uid will have
cooked away.
Makes six servings.
Savoy Slaw with "uttermilk 'ressing
This slaw can be made using all green cabbage or any combination of green, red and
Savoy.
"uttermilk 'ressing
-6. cup buttermilk
064 cup mayonnaise or low fat mayonnaise
0 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons grainy mustard
06. teaspoon celery seed
Combine all ingredients in a pint si3e @ar or small bowl and refrigerate. The dressing can
be prepared up to three days in advance.
D cups Savoy cabbage, thinly shredded
0 cup red cabbage, thinly shredded
064 cup grated carrots
4 scallions, chopped include green tops
Mix vegetables together in a large bowl. Toss with hands. dd dressing, toss using two
spoons, refrigerate. Makes six servings.
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