Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) originated from Southern Europe and is one of the most consumed leafy vegetables in the world. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is related to Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Cabbages do well in different parts of the world where conditions are conducive for growth.
There are many varieties of cabbages available in the market, with their taste and characteristics. The popular varieties include green, purple, red, Napa, and Savoy cabbages. The type of cabbage to grow depends on the climatic condition of your location and the recipes you prefer.
Why regrow cabbages
You save your grocery expenditure by regrowing cabbages in your home garden. From an environmentalism point of view, it is a better way of putting into use parts that many people consider waste. You also feed on organic vegetables that you have tended in your kitchen or home garden.
Conditions for growth of cabbages
Anyone can regrow cabbages because the process is simple and few requirements like;
- Containers to hold water
- Suitable cabbage head
Before starting the process to regrow cabbage from stems, sterilize the knife using either Pine-Sol or Lysol. The container to hold water should be cleaned thoroughly and ensure it does not contain any mineral deposits.
Step 1: Get a cabbage scrap from a good cabbage head
The cabbage head determines the success of regrowth. Choose a cabbage head with a decent-sized stem in place because shoot roots sprout from it in the early growth phase.
Step 2: Cut the scrap from the cabbage
Use a sterilized sharp knife to slice the stem from the cabbage head. Take caution at this stage and leave some flesh from the cabbage head on the scrap to provide a platform for early sprouting.
Step 3: Place cabbage stems in water in shallow containers
Use shallow containers and fill them with clean water. Allow the cabbage scrap to sit on top with the stem immersed in water. The water level should not swallow the cabbage stem when placed upside down in the container. Place the container in a shaded area and away from children as they may play with your sprouting cabbages.
Change the water every day until roots start sprouting on the stem, and place one cabbage stem per container. Note that the bottom of the cabbage stem faces down, and the point of the cut-off faces upwards.
Step 4: Give time for cabbage stems to sprout roots
Your cabbage stems sprout after four to seven days. You will notice some leaves and roots. Continue watering and changing the water to prevent the stem from rotting.
You choose whether to transplant the cabbage stems to a garden, pot, or any other prepared surface when the roots and leaves appear mature and developed.
If you decide to transplant your cabbage stems in the garden or any other surface with soil, sterilize the soil substrate to prevent disease infection to your delicate sprouts. Check on the soil drainage to avoid waterlogging and eventual rot of the cabbage. Afterward, your cabbages require similar treatment to regularly grown cabbages.
Care for transplanted cabbages
You can get optimal yields from the regrown cabbage stems by doing the following simple tips in the garden.
Cabbages require sunlight averaging 4- 8 hours in a day, depending on the variety planted. Ensure the cabbage your transplant will survive in the available sunlight at that season.
Cabbages should be spaced 18 – 24 inches apart, depending on the variety. The spacing reduces competition for available nutrients, water and allows more space to grow larger heads. Avoid planting strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, pole beans, and mustard plants near your cabbages.
Cabbages should get water often, and the soil must stay moist most of the time. Never allow waterlogging in your soil as this causes disease and rotting of the growing cabbages. You can retain the soil moisture by mulching with wood chips, straw, or sawdust. Mulching also suppresses the growth of weeds that compete with your cabbages for space, nutrients, and water.
Direct the irrigation water at the cabbage root base and avoid splashing water on the leafy surface to avoid attracting disease pathogens and pests.
Just like the majority of other plants, cabbages require moist nutrient-rich soils. You can use compost manure because it adds nutrients and retains the soil moisture.
Excessive nitrogenous fertilizers are not beneficial in cabbage farming. They allow the cabbage to produce many loosely held leaves, which do not form the required head in a cabbage.
Pest and disease management
The soil, plant leaves, stems, and fruits harbor many pests and pathogens. Watch your regrown cabbages for any changes in leaf color and general appearance.
Remove immediately from the garden and burn any cabbages with signs of infestation to avoid further spread of the disease.
Watch for common pests in cabbages plants and use effective preventive mechanisms. If possible, try biological control of pests and not pesticides.
The common pest that attacks cabbages include:
- Cabbage loopers
- Cabbage root maggots
Cabbage diseases include:
- Black rot
- Cabbage yellows
Transplanted cabbages grown from stems mature in 60 – 105 days and harvest when the heads are firm. Cool-weather harvested cabbages are sweeter than ones harvested in a warmer season. Cabbage heads can expand and split in warm weather by a process called bolting. The cabbage head takes more water than it can transpire with the tightly packed leaves. Harvest and eat immediately once the cabbage bolts because it turns bitter if left to continue growing.
If you want to regrow new cabbages in the field from the same plant, cut the head at the stem center, leaving a few leaves attached to the stem stump.
Cabbages can be stored long after harvesting in several ways. They can be refrigerated, dried, frozen, or cured in brine.
You can consume the inner and outer parts of the cabbage. Most people don’t find the outer part of the cabbage edible like the inner portion, and it can make cabbage wraps.