Plants

Flowering Cabbage F-1

Family:   Brassicaceae
Botanical Name:   Brassica oleracea( Capitata Group)
Plant Common Name:   Cabbage
General Description:

Available in many shapes and colors, cabbage forms large, dense heads of thick, fleshy leaves that are delicious eaten cooked or raw. Typically grown as an annual, this cool season vegetable is a fleshy-leaved, short-lived perennial that originates from the coastal areas of western and southern Europe. Chinese or napa cabbage belongs to another species, B. rapa.

Cabbages are categorized by their texture and color. Most have smooth, ribbed, somewhat leathery leaves with a strong pungent flavor. These can be green (from pale grassy to deep emerald, often with blue overtones) or red (with burgundy-purple hues predominant). Savoy cabbages are distinct in having heavily crinkled, thin, mildly flavored leaves. Most cabbages have an outer layer of larger, spreading, more deeply hued “wrapper” leaves. Cabbages also vary markedly in size and days to harvest, with early-maturing varieties bearing much smaller heads than later ones. Vigor and flavor decline with heat. Although cool weather enhances flavor, plants may flower (or “bolt”) in extended chilly spells. Cabbage heads may split if not harvested promptly. Somewhat cold-hardy, cabbages can be grown as a winter vegetable in areas such as the Lower Southeast United States and western California.

This cool weather crop prefers full sun and fertile, organic-rich garden soil with ample drainage. Plant seed or transplants in early spring, or in summer for fall or winter harvest. For an extended harvest, plant both early- and late-cropping varieties. Plants may produce a second crop of side sprouts from the “stumps” of the harvested heads.

Cabbages are rewarding to grow and well worth the effort. As with all members of Brassica oleracea, they are susceptible to a number of pests, including cabbage loopers and several other types of caterpillars.

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