Thursday, August 4, 2011

Growing a giant cabbage

Growing a Giant Cabbage
First thing of course is the seed. I use "Daneli Seeds ,Anchorage " a cabbage called OS Hybrid Cross. We grow much larger cabbages in Alaska because of the long, long hrs of daylight...20 hrs of direct sun in June! I think they will grow well anywhere it has cool summers as its the heat that makes cabbage go bad quicker. In southern areas you would have to grow it as a winter crop. Daneli Seeds has a web site so check this cabbage out if you want all your friends to say...Wow, that's a big cabbage!
I start my cabbage indoors early..around 8 weeks before snow melts. The trick to making em bigger is to "Pot em Up" and do it often...don't use any fertilizers or manures in the pots and use a sand and peat moss mixture...the idea is to grow a lot of support roots first indoors. If the leaves get to big early they are harder to transplant outside later. This year I had mine in 14" plastic pots when they go to ground. Just a VERY little (8-30-18) miracle grow in EVERY drink of water when small to keep em going hunting for root food,and to do that they....grow a lot of roots!. Now we are set for good
I start hardening my cabbage off as soon as the nights stay above 25 out as I put em in a plastic greenhouse. Cabbage can take a HARD frost as mine have survived 25 Degrees outside and planted in the ground uncovered...Tough that's why they must hate the heat.?.. They just like to get in the ground as early as you can. What I do is prepare my cabbage bed this Fall for next year. That way its ready to go strait away as soon as i can loosen the ground up again come warm spring days. I dig a nice deep hole and mix in a gracious amount of peat moss ,a pail of sand (if soil is heavy remove some before mixing), 2 cups bone meal , 4-6 cups of composted steer manure, 2 cups wood ashes, couple heaping TBL spoons of Epsom salt (Magnesium) & powdered milk (calcium),maybe a little lime. Then ad some small rocks, sticks,& bark just to keep the soil from packing down to tight in summer as you will have to use a lot of water. Consider a small temporary hothouse over the naked bed to warm the earth when air is still cold to get em in a little better start.
Now its time to plant the beasts ! when you dig the hole for the pot make sure and put a pail of hot water in the bottom of the hole and let it soak in...this wet & warm the soil low down lower than the bottom of the new plant so when you set the cabbage down it nestles into warm wet loose soil and now the roots will have a lot of strength and mass to attack this new hole full of goodies. I end up after planting with a lot of extra soil so i make a nice big water moat around the cabbage with when it really grows out 3'to 4' across , you can't get underneath it anymore but you want the water to go down. That's why i surround the new plant with a 3 foot wide circle ridge moat for watering. Cabbages will take a gallon a day when fully growing. Biggest I have grown is 58 pounds in 2009. Last year biggest was only 41 pounds and vole When its all watered and settled sprinkle a good cup of wood ashes around the new stem and nearby. This helps with bugs early when plants are at first weaker. Then I sprinkle Blood meal around in the moat off and on all summer as its a quick nitrogen fix. I also use a little composted manure soaked in the water can and Generous amount of fish emulsion in the summer watering. Fish is a slower acting fertilizer but cabbages seem to love it! I hope this helps you to grow a giant cabbage in your garden and remember this recipe for a big cabbage will work well with all leaf crops...but don't use it on other veggies or flowers as you would get a lot of stalk and no flower or fruit if to much Nitrogen is used.... But let me tell ya...cabbages love it! Get em planted EARLY !!


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