Cabbages are great vegetables in salad making and can also be a good substitute to kales when they are not available. The good thing with cabbages they can stay a long long time without rotting. Unlike kales they can only stay up to three to four days and they change color plus loose the taste.
Farming of cabbages does not only supply you with nutrients but can also a source of a stable income. Cabbages do not require lots efforts and care like tomatoes, they are easy to farm and they are profitable since they do not pose a risk of rotting in the farm that quickly.
These are some of the nutrients that cabbages may offer to its consumers; every serving of cabbage per person you get 20 calories, one gram of protein, vitamin A and K, vitamin B-6, calcium, potassium and folate when this product is consumed fresh.
Varieties of cabbages
We have two varieties of cabbages. Every variety does and grows well in some areas while other completely fail. You should do soil testing and sampling or visit an agricultural department who can help you on choose the best variety you can venture into because they are experts.
These are the varieties of cabbages:
- Early maturing variety
- Sugar loaf
- Copenhagen market
- Gloria hybrid
- Golden Acres hybrid
- Early Jersey
- Mukuki and
- The late maturity variety
- Early drum-head
- Prize drum-head
- Savoy cabbage
Ecological requirements for cabbage farming
Since cabbages take four to five months to mature, you should consider planting them in an altitude between 1900 and 3000 meters above sea level.
There should also a very good distribution of rainfall of 750mm throughout the growing period, if there is low rainfall distribution you should now intervene by watering your plants. Though cabbages tolerate droughts you should consider watering for faster growth, the easiest way to do this is using drip irrigation where water is administered to each plant directly.
Cabbages do well in soils with a PH of 6.5 t0 7.0 which slightly acidic.
Nursery establishment and management
Cabbage nursery should be placed in a land with a fine tilth, the farm should be cultivated the first time then a second cultivation, this helps to break large lumps of soil to a fine soil particles.
Roots, stones, the land should be sprayed to kill parasites and also perennial weeds should be removed by spraying or manually uprooting them during the preparation of the nursery bed. Also do not site the nursery on a piece of land where plants from the family of brassica had been planted earlier, probably in the last 3 years.
On the seedbed make 9 to 10cm furrows or drill holes apart and the seeds evenly placed in the furrows and covered slightly with soil, large lumps of soil may hinder the seeds germinating faster or may germinate but may be weak.
When you don’t cover the seeds, they can also be destroyed by birds and other creatures so remember to cover them with slight soil.
On top of the seed bed raise a little higher shade, the shade should not be dirk because plants need light for photosynthesis. And below the shade consider putting small light dry leaves or grass as mulch to prevent the high rate of evaporation.
Do hardening off of the plants 14 days before transplanting.
Land preparation and management
The land where the cabbage seedlings are to be transplanted should be well ploughed and harrowed during a dry season to easily help reduce the chances of the weeds from growing and competing with the cabbage plants for nutrition and water.
Consider a spacing of 90 by 60cm from each plant depending on the variety of the cabbages you are intending to plant.
Transplanting the seedling from the nursery bed to the prepared land
Only transplant seedlings which are healthy and have a fast growing rate. Water the seed bed before transplanting to easily facilitate transplanting the seedling with a lump of soil around their roots.
The seedlings should be planted the same depth size they were planted in the nursery bed. The transplanting procedure should take place in the evening and after transplanting they should be watered.
Field management practices
Weeding is the removing of unwanted weeds from a piece of land where they grow in plants. Weeding of cabbages should be done using hands and due care should be taken to avoid tempering with the head formation of the cabbages.
- Top dressing
Calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) or sulphate should be applied to each cabbage plant at a rate of one tea spoonful.
Cabbage pests and their control
- Aphids mainly affect the head and leaves of the cabbage plant, they drain and suck cabbage juice hence the leaves can be weak and wilt before maturity.
Control of aphids
- Once spotted the pests should be early sprayed to reduce their number and their effect on plants.
- Cutworms affect the roots and stems of the cabbage plant, they cut the stems.
Control of cutworms
- Cutworms should early be sprayed with insecticides.
Harvesting of the cabbage plant
Cabbages fully mature after three to four months, this is the right time for harvesting and transporting them to final market place for consumers to buy.