Family: Brassicaceae

Countries: Asia, China, England, Europe, France, Scotland, Spain, United Kingdom, Wales

Cabbages, also known by their botanical name of Brassica oleracea var. capita, are a beautiful and delicious vegetable.

The cabbage pictured above is a savoy cabbage, but many cabbage types and cultivars are available for the gardener to grow; each cabbage type has different sowing times.  Spring cabbages are sown in late summer and autumn, while summer cabbages are sown in spring, and winter cabbages are sown in spring and early summer.

Cabbages are a Brassica.  Other brassicas include: kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, swede, turnips, mustard, and kale.

If you grow vegetables, it’s important to form a good rotation system.  You can do this more easily if you divide your growing area into four, or five areas, and allocate each area to a different vegetable group, alternating your sowings each year.   Crop rotation helps to avoid soil diseases and the build up of pest and disease in your garden, as well as maximising the soil’s fertility.

Cabbages can be sown in seed trays or sown in a prepared seedbed outdoors.  The developing cabbage plants can then be transplanted into a permanent growing position and continue to be grown directly in the ground outside, or grown in large containers.

I find that cabbages grow best when these plants are planted firmly and grown in fertile soil or compost.  Top size cabbages are produced when sufficient water and nutrients are supplied regularly, throughout the growing season.

Cabbages suffer from a number of pests, which include: cabbage root fly, cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, and pigeons.  Protecting your cabbage plants, by covering them using Enviromesh or another tough and resilient netting will prevent all of these problems.

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