Cabbage is a vegetable originating in Central Europe, although it is currently cultivated and found in all countries. Its cultivation has been known since 2500 B.C. in Egypt, although it was also widely used in ancient Greece and Rome, who already attributed beneficial properties to this vegetable, such as its ability to promote digestion and mitigate the consequences of excessive alcohol intake. Once cultivated by the Romans its use and consumption was extended to all countries of the Mediterranean basin, increasing its cultivation and consumption in the Middle Ages.
In the sixteenth century its cultivation spread to England and France, and in the seventeenth century spread throughout Europe. Today it is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in temperate zones.
Cabbage as cauliflower and broccoli, is quite easy to grow. It’s cultivation is widespread throughout the world and although it requires little care, it requires certain conditions to achieve a good harvest.
Cabbages or also called winter cabbages are very productive, it need well-drained and humid souls. On the other hand, these plants like alkaline souls, so it is advisable to add lime to the soil in which it is going to be planted, lime can be removed if the soil was previously planted beans or peas (Leguminous).
Cabbage needs a lot of nitrogen in its growth stage, which is why soils rich in humus and organic matter are favorable. Therefore it is very important and it is recommended to insert much of these components in the flowerpots or incorporate them into the orchard, after a deep plough, before planting the cabbage.
These should be sown in seedbed and not directly in the ground, remembering that a seedbed allows to reproduce plants from its seeds, in those cases in which the direct sowing on the ground presents difficulties.
For the preparation of the soil, cabbage is very demanding in terms of nutrients, so it requires soils with good fertility and high nitrogen and water intake. It prefers porous soils, with good drainage, but at the same time have the capacity to retain soil moisture. The optimal pH is around 6.5 and 7.0. For germination the cabbages or cabbage must first grow in seedbed and then transplant it to their final place. It is essential to keep the soil very moist and avoid low temperatures at this stage. The transplant is done when the plant is about 13 cm high. It should last in the seedbed approximately 6 weeks.
The advantage of cabbage is that as it has great capacity to withstand the cold, can be harvested in multiple seasons a year, almost all year, preferably in spring, summer and winter. Harvests are obtained after being planted in a period of approximately 3 to 5 months. Then we have for the three best times of the year to harvest cabbages the following:
Spring cabbages: In this case the seeds are sown in seedbeds in the middle of summer in cooler climates and at the end of the year in warmer climates. It is transplanted at the beginning of autumn to its definitive place. It should not be fertilized with excess nitrogen before winter. It is harvested when spring arrives.
Summer cabbages: The seeds are sown in seedbeds at the end of winter. It is transplanted at the beginning of spring, when it is 5 cm high, to its definitive place. At the arrival of the summer it is harvested.
Winter cabbages: The seeds are sown in seedbeds at the beginning of spring. It is transplanted when it reach 13 cm to its definitive place. To the arrival of the winter it is harvested.
The exposure to the sun is very important, since the cabbages like to be to full sun, but it do not have any problem if it is put in places that have shade at some time of the day. It is recommended an exposure to the sun at least 8 hours per day.
In the case of irrigation, it requires constant irrigation, but it is necessary that the water drains easily and that no puddles are produced, because this can cause the root to rot. When it is growing, it is recommended once or twice a day. Generally speaking, cabbage plants need about 4 cm of water each week. When watering, try not to do it on the plant. A drip irrigation system is recommended. Cabbage as already mentioned like humid soils.
The recommended space to plant in flowerpots is 25 Lts. The minimum depth of the pot should be 30 cm. The distance between one plant and another in the orchard should be 30 cm and the distance between the planting lines in the orchard should be 60 cm.
Types of cabbages
Plain green-white cabbage, it’s scientist name is Brassica oleracea var. capitate, known in other languages as white cabbage. It is the most common cabbage, characterized by its smooth leaves, which vary from light green on the outside to white on the inside. It is most representative cultivar, being round, early (90 to 120 days from sowing to harvest) small (average 2 kg) and used in salad.
Red cabbage, it’s scientist name is Brassica oleracea var. capitata subvar, rubra) also known as col lombarda. It is characterized by its purplish-red, purple or purple colour. It is generally cabbages with smooth leaves, round, small to medium size to (1 to 5 kg). medium to late precocity (120 days and more), and are used fresh or cooked.
Cabbage or savoy, it’s scientist name is Brassica oleracea var. capitata subvar, sabauda, denominated in other languages as savoy cabbage. It is the type that follows in importance to the cultivation of smooth cabbages, characterized by its wrinkled or dented leaves, green or somewhat bluish, its lower resistance to early flowering and its lower rusticity compared to smooth cabbages.
There are some essential tips for harvesting cabbages:
- Cabbages need a lot of nitrogen for their growth. It is recommended to fertilize with a lot of compost the soil in which it is going to be planted.
- Cabbage is a plant of cold climate, but is sensitive to low temperatures at the time of planting or in their stage of flowering. It can tolerate frost down to -7C.
- Nitrogen should not be added before winter. This is because cabbages or cabbage develop at excessive speed with it, becoming juicy and sensitive to frost damage.
- When harvesting, it must be taken out the roots to prevent the appearance of diseases in the soil.
- Cabbage is harvested between 100 and 180 days after sowing, depending on the variety. Squeeze the head of the cabbage with your hand when it reaches between 10 and 25 cm.
- If the head is solid and firm, it means that the cabbage is ready to be harvested. On the other hand, if the head is not yet soft, it means that it needs more time to mature.
- Harvest the heads using a sharp knife to cut them from the stems. Then place them in the shade or in the refrigerator until you decide to consume it.
How to storage Cabbage
To preserve and storage cabbage for a long time, you should consider some factors:
- Selection of suitable varieties.
- The term and conditions of the harvest.
- Choose correct storage method.
Consider each of the factors in more detail.
What cabbage varieties are most suitable for storage: the most suitable for long-term storage will be the species of late and late maturation, which can safely withstand 6-8 months under appropriate conditions, and for short-term storage (2 to 3 months), the average maturation. It will be adequate. If it is impossible to find a grade in the purchase, just carefully inspect the cabbages. Better quality will be the densest, elastic and less juicy samples.
If you want to keep your crop until spring, be careful when preparing the storage space. The main condition is to create the required temperature (approximately 0 C) and the optimum humidity (approximately 90%) In addition, the room must be well ventilated and not contaminated with fungi or mold.
There are many storage options. For these purposes, suitable refrigerator or balcony, basement or ground trench. Once the place is determined, choose the one that suits you.
To keep cabbage in the refrigerator, is necessary in a special area where the temperatures is maintained from 1 C to -1 C.
For the winery there are other options:
The simplest and most popular is to place the cabbage heads up along the stump on the shelves along the walls, wrapped in a film (you can also use paper). It will be great to feel the harvest unearthed along with the roots, placed in buckets or boxes with moistened garden soil every month. The method of storing coil heads suspended from horizontal bars of self-tapping screws in the basement ceiling has proven its effectiveness.
We can talk about the most common diseases and pests that can affect cabbage.
Aphids: Potassium soap can be applied to the underside of plants to combat aphids. If the plague persists or is very abundant, you can apply neem extract.
Cabbage fly: It nests in the neck of the cabbage stem and hollows it out, causing the leaves to wither and die. To prevent infestation by cabbage flies it is advisable to eliminate all competing weeds, as it is a good refuge for them. In addition, it is necessary to alternate the cultivation.
Cabbage Butterfly: Places its eggs on the underside of the leaves. When hatching, its larvae eat the leaves leaving the central nerve. The pulverized Bacillus thuringiensis can control the attacks of the cabbage butterfly.
Whiterfly: Causes yellow spots on leaves. To prevent them it is recommended to spray the underside of the laves with 1% of potassium soap with rain or distilled water.
Cabbage Hernia: This is a disease caused by a fungus that produces bulges in the stem and ends up withering the leaves of the plant. It is more common in very acid soils. You can stop this disease by eliminating all infected plants.
The fungus is highly contagious and spreads quickly. To prevent its reappearance, it rotates for 4 to 5 years and improves soil drainage.
Nutritional Benefits of Cabbage
- Enormous water content: cabbages are one of those vegetables that stand out for having a large amount of water in their composition.
- Great in potassium: the potassium that we absorb when consuming cabbages is excellent for the functioning of the intestines. In addition it has always been a necessary mineral for the transmission and generation of the nervous impulse. it is also essential for the muscle activity.
- With good magnesium content: the magnesium help we receive from the cabbages also allows us to have a good functioning of the intestine, nerves and muscles.
- Rich in vitamins: the vitamins that are most present in cabbages are pro vitamin A, vitamin C, E. Also folates, which help in the production of red and white blood cells.
Medicinal Benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage purify and help to lose weight, containing good doses of fiber and also of magnesium, helps a lot to work the intestine. If you add to this your dose of water, the equation is perfect to help purify the body and lose weight. Obviously, this is a very low-calorie vegetable (about 25 per 100 grams).
Cabbage helps to reduce cholesterol, given its amount of fiber. It helps a lot to absorb fat and bad cholesterol. That is why it is often used as a regular vegetable in the diet against hypercholesterolemia. It does not contribute bad fats, nor of any class.
Other medicinal properties, it is often used for diverticulitis, to combat sinusitis, for hemorrhoids and also for uric acid. In general, it tend to go well for digestive disorders of all kinds. But even if it sounds paradoxical, not everyone feels good about it.
It helps protect against premature aging. It fights cold and flu.
Purple cabbage has anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption can reduce inflammation in the body. In this way it helps to reduce chronic inflammations such as arthritis and heart disease.
Due to the presence of selenium, it assists in the proper functioning of the immune system.
White cabbage or green contains more vitamin A, important to protect vision and potassium, an important mineral for muscle strengthening.
When consumed cabbage works together with bile acids in the digestive process to remove cholesterol from the blood. The fibers present in this vegetable help in the process of digestion, in the health of the stomach and intestinal lining.
Cabbage has sinigrin, a substance that can help in the treatment of cases of prostate, colon and bladder cancer. To better benefit from this property of cabbage, the indication for consumption is to cook only lightly or eat it raw.
Cabbage is also indicated for ulcers, nausea, neuralgia, erysipelas, gout, hoarseness and rheumatism.
Excess consumption of cabbage
Due to the presence of certain substances in cabbage, it can causes intestinal irrigation and flatulence in those who swallow it excessively. Therefore its use should be restricted in the following cases:
- Stones in the gallbladder, since it can produce heaviness and biliary dyspepsia.
- Intestinal flatulence, since due to its cellulose content, cabbage increases the production of intestinal gases.