Friday, 23 November 2018

How to grow and harvest cabbages in containers - Organic gardening tips - chapter 5

Mark Twain once said, “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” This antioxidant and nutrient-rich vegetable is a great addition to any garden!

Cabbage is a nutritious vegetable, very rich in fiber and vitamins and low in calories. Growing cabbage in containers is easy for gardeners with little sunny garden space. However the cabbage doesn't like summer heat. So it needs to be planted in early spring or early autumn. Cabbage thrives in cool weather.

Cabbage can be grown in containers at home either using seeds or saplings, although procuring the saplings is not that easy. We need to know where we get good saplings grown organically. If you are growing the cabbages using the seeds, then they need to be spread over in the pot and covered with a layer of organic manure. This will facilitate germination as well as the early growth of seedlings. The seedlings would be ready for transplanting in about 4 to 6 weeks when they’ve grown 4 to 6 inches tall.

Please read my other interesting posts about gardening tips and tricks :

1. Organic gardening method - How to grow veggies in a very very small place
2. Organic gardening medium - How to grow easily without soil and with less water

3. Organic gardening plants - What all the vegetables we can grow in 10x10 area 

4. Organic Manure composting - How to use your kitchen waste directly in your pots to compost and prepare organic manure

We can purchase a cabbage transplant at a garden center or nursery. I got the saplings from the nursery where I buy the organic manure. The gardeners there are so benevolent and helping natured that every time we go there to purchase the organic mixture, they give some 10 saplings each of whatever vegetables they are growing during that season, free of cost. So far I have got brinjal, chilli, tomato, cabbage and cauliflower saplings from them. And since these saplings are grown in healthy organic environment, the vegetables grow in healthy abundance from these plants.

We have to dig a hole in the center of the container and plant the cabbage plant in the hole, deep enough such that the second leaf is just above the surface of the soil. And then pat the soil firmly around the stem. We need to use a container with a drainage hole. The important care we need to take is placing the container where the cabbage is exposed to sunlight for at least six hours daily.

A container with a depth of 12 inches and a diameter of 18 inches is large enough for one cabbage plant. Admittedly I am a very greedy gardener and in each of the paint box I am having in my garden, I had already planted minimum 2-3 varieties of plants and they are snuggling with each other and growing without any complaints! Trust the nature to teach us about every aspect of life!!!

So as I had filled all my paint boxes with plants and there was absolutely no place for my cabbage seedlings. So I cut the plastic rice bag into half, filled it with organic manure and planted the saplings. I even have planted some in ordinary plastic bags and they are almost ready for harvest.

We need to check the cabbage daily, as the potting soil in the containers dries quickly, especially during warm weather. So we need to water the plant daily and see to it that the saplings and the soil never get dry.

Taking care of the Cabbage plants

As I am growing the vegetables without any outside manures, I add the kitchen waste like vegetables' and fruits' peels, coffee and tea decoction powder and egg shells to the organic manure which are helping to get rich yield.

Cabbage is a delicacy for a variety of pests. Slugs, snails, cabbage worms are some of the pests that bother my cabbage plants. Foliage damaged with holes indicates that pests are present. To ward them off, I use neem oil. I mix one teaspoon of neem oil in one liter of water and spray on my cabbage plants once or twice a month depending upon the situation.

Harvesting the Cabbage : 

When the outer leaves have fully opened up and the cabbage head becomes firm, it is an indication that the cabbage needs to be harvested. Harvesting of the cabbage from the plant is to be done when the head feels firm and solid.  As shown in the video, using a sharp knife I cut the heads when they are firm. We have to trim the outermost leaves and leave inner stalks and roots in place to produce tasty little cabbages. And then we need to apply turmeric at the place we have cut the head and cover it with plastic in case it is raining. From here we get another set of baby cabbages which take another month or so to grow. We can eat them like Brussels sprouts or let them develop into a second crop of small heads.

Please don't miss to watch the video here where I have explained the tips of growing cabbages in containers in home garden.

Happy Gardening.....