White cabbage is a recognized garden lady. They grow it in a seedling way, but this is not an easy matter: the culture is too fastidious. We will tell you how to correctly choose a cabbage variety for planting on your site, and then grow strong seedlings.
Terms of sowing cabbage
All cabbages are cold-resistant, they are grown through seedlings. However, organizing this in a city apartment is not a promising thing, since this culture loves light, coolness, high humidity. And our rooms are dark, it’s too hot and dry for cabbage. Seedlings grow weak, stretch strongly and even lie down. Of course, nothing good will come out of such plants.
It is better to sow the cabbage a little later directly into the greenhouse, but only cover the seedlings with an additional film. If you can’t arrange a greenhouse before May, then make a small greenhouse in a sunny place — and sow in it not only cabbage, but everything you need.
The appropriate time for sowing cabbage for seedlings is the beginning of March-April, depending on the region. For the Northwest, in particular, it is the beginning of April. Frosts are on the soil. If you put a box with sown seedlings on a stool or a board suspended on rope loops in the end of the greenhouse, like a swing, then the seedlings will be inaccessible to frost. In the same way, but a little later, you can sow beetroot, cauliflower, zucchini and cucumbers, flower crops for seedlings. Boxes with crops should be wrapped with a film to keep warm and moisture.
Sowing dates for early varieties
Early white cabbage is usually recommended to be sown for seedlings in February-March. The maturation period is about 90-100 days after the emergence of seedlings. The feeding area of early cabbage is small, about 30 × 30 cm. In June, it is already ready, so it is often called June cabbage.
For an unheated greenhouse in the northern regions, this period is unrealistic. And later it makes no sense to sow early cabbage, so it is not recommended to grow it in the North-West in principle. Moreover, it is suitable only for salads and use in blanched form, soup is not cooked from it, and it is not suitable for pickling. For salads, it is much easier to grow leafy cabbage, for example, pak choi, Napa cabbage or Mizuna.
When to sow varieties of medium maturity
White cabbage of medium maturation is usually recommended to be sown for seedlings at the end of April (or in early May directly into the ground). The ripening period is about 120 days, the feeding area is 45 × 45 cm. Such white cabbage is suitable for salads, pickling, and is used for pies. But it is not stored for a long time.
Despite the recommendations, I do not grow cabbage in a seedless way because of the cruciferous flea, which overwinters in the soil and can completely devour young shoots. Covering crops with lutrasil does not save from this pest. On the contrary, the soil warms up quickly under it, and the flea leaves the soil earlier than usual (at a temperature of +8°C).
Terms for late-maturing varieties
Late varieties of cabbage are recommended to be sown for seedlings in early April, since the maturation period is 150-160 days. Such cabbage requires a large area of nutrition, so seedlings should be planted in the ground according to the 60 × 60 cm scheme. You can sow late cabbage at the end of April, because in regions with a long and warm autumn, you can remove it even in mid-October, after frosts.
Late varieties of cabbage are intended for long-term storage. Immediately after harvesting, they are not suitable for fermentation, since they still have a long process of accumulation of sugars. Therefore, they can be fermented only after December: if you hurry, the cabbage will be soft and tasteless.
Growing cabbage seedlings
In a box with a depth of at least 7 cm or directly into the soil in the greenhouse, sow the seeds in grooves about 2 cm deep. Cabbage seeds are large — they are easy to spread out at a distance of 2-3 cm from each other. The soil should be neutral, moist and sufficiently nutritious. The soil mixture for the box can be prepared from a mixture of peat (1 bucket), sand (0.5 buckets) and ash (1 liter). Mix well, fill the box, pour water over it. Make grooves and spread the seeds in them, cover with soil, seal the soil after sowing.
To prevent the soil from losing heat and moisture, the crops should be covered with a film. From the moment of emergence of seedlings, the shelter should be removed — and the cabbage should be watered regularly, but not flooded (so that the ground is constantly moderately moist). The main thing at this stage is a neutral reaction of the soil.
In addition, excessive stretching of the subfamily knee should not be allowed. Often this happens not only because of poor lighting, but also because of too thick shoots. The seedlings are cramped, and it begins to stretch out. At this point, the lower part of the stem may dry out. In this case, it is impossible to avoid the disease of the black leg, because the seedlings will weaken and will not be able to resist the disease. It is better to remove some of the plants immediately with thickened crops (there will be less trouble later), and the remaining ones — to hoe.
Preparation of the bed
A week before transplanting seedlings to a permanent place, the soil in the garden should be well watered with a 3% solution of copper sulfate (1 tablespoon per 1 liter of water) or any other drug containing copper to destroy harmful spores. Instead of a copper-containing agent, a biological product can be used. In addition, it is necessary to additionally deoxidize the soil directly when planting seedlings.
In the hole for each plant, you should add 1 dessert spoon of calcium nitrate, pour a full well of water and plant the seedlings together with a lump of earth. If there is no calcium nitrate, add 1/3 cup of ash. If an additional 0.5 teaspoons of the powder fraction of the complex fertilizer AVA are added to the hole before planting, then mineral fertilizing can not be carried out in the future.
The hole should be made deep enough, since the cotyledon leaves are completely covered with soil, without breaking off, and the first 2 real leaves should lie on top of the ground. They are half covered with soil, and after 2 days it is shaken off. In this case, the seedlings will not lose a single leaf during transplantation.
Seedlings should be planted in the center of the bed according to the scheme 40 × 40 cm (45 × 45 — for varieties of medium maturity, 60 × 60 — for late ripening), it is necessary to compress the soil and mulch it under the plantings with green grass. In the future, it is necessary to constantly introduce green grass and weeds that have been weeded out. In this case, the cabbage can be watered extremely rarely.
Plants at the time of transplantation (about 30-45 days after germination) should have 4-5 real leaves and a height of about 15 cm. If the seedlings have outgrown, and it has more leaves than necessary, then it is better to cut off the bottom 2, because they will wither anyway, and the moisture will evaporate until this moment. The stem of overgrown seedlings, as a rule, forms a curved knee. When planting, it should be covered with soil, without trying to straighten it.
The transplant should be done in the evening. If the next day is too hot and sunny weather, then the planted seedlings need to be shaded for a couple of days, you can use a cap rolled up from a newspaper sheet. As soon as a new leaf appeared, it means that the plants have taken root. Pay attention to the following: cabbage needs hoeing, otherwise the head may fall on its side and will lie on the ground. In this case, there is a high probability of rotting disease.
Moving to the garden is the very beginning of the “independent life” of cabbage.