Brassica Oleracea

One of the new things I grew this year was Cabbage (Brassica Oleracea, for Latin-speaking gardeners).  As with most things I’ve tried in the garden, I didn’t really know what I was doing; but I learn best through trial and error and sometimes by trial and success.

I started my seeds indoors, like the package suggested.  They germinated and grew to a healthy, outside-planting size of about six inches.  I brought some of the seedlings to my brother’s garden and planted a whole row for him; we schemed and discussed how these seedlings would be the beginning of our sauerkraut empire.

They grew well for a few weeks; then, in a blink of an eye, they were gone, mowed down by my brother’s resident woodchuck.

I planted the rest of the seedlings (about 10) in my Hampton Victory Garden plot and on the suggestion of our wisest gardener, put cardboard collars around them.  There were a few things I didn’t know about cabbage:

  • There are many cabbage varieties, sizes, and maturities.  Some yield their bounty early, some mid-season, and some mature late in the season.  I didn’t pay much attention to this when I selected my cabbage seeds, so ended up planting some “Premium Late Flat Dutch.”
  • Cabbage takes up a lot of space.  I planted my cabbage too close and ended up having to pull out some of the heads that didn’t thrive due to crowding.  Cabbage gives you a lot of food for the space, though; imagine a big dish of coleslaw for every 2 feet of garden.
  • Slugs like cabbage.  They ate holes in almost all my cabbage plants and although I was able to cut the damaged sections out, I’m going to take a few preventive measures next year.  The most popular slug bait, from a little search-engine research, is Budweiser beer.  Slugs, apparently, have a penchant for the King of Beers.

2012 was not the year my brother and I became the Sauerkraut Barons of Lisbon Falls.  We’re not going to give up, though.  Cabbage is easy to grow and in spite of a few problems along the way, it’s possible we could grow enough next year to fill a few crocks with ‘kraut.

Did you grow cabbage this year? 

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