Multiplying the number of cabbages on one plant is just one way of lengthening your harvest. I’ve found many more.
You can plant seeds in the spring under grow lights and transfer the small plants to your garden to give you a jump start on the season for an earlier harvest. Then direct plant some seeds which will give you a later harvest than your transplants.
Then if you grow more than one variety with differing maturity dates like Greyhound or Wakefield Cabbage which is smaller, early and conical in shape, and a later cabbage like Brunswick which is drumhead in shape, then you would get about a 10 day harvest difference. The round shaped cabbages usually come in between these two for harvest dates.
Combine transplants, direct sow, cabbages with differing maturity days, and cold hardy varieties and you can extend your harvest of fresh cabbage over a fairly long period of time.
Then of course there is the getting multiple heads off of one cabbage plant and the smaller cabbages mature later than the main head extending the harvest time. Especially if you aid the early varieties into producing more than one head by the two means in the earlier blog post.
As you can tell I’m really working the extending the harvest angle.
But I’m not done. There are cold hardy varieties that allow you to harvest fresh cabbage into the fall. Brunswick is just such a cabbage. Most cabbage will tolerate a light frost but Brunswick is suppose to go beyond that. I’m going to direct seed some next year and test just how cold hardy it is here in Wyoming. Can I harvest fresh cabbage for 4 months? I want to find out.
Then there is the greenhouses we will eventually put in. How long would that extend the harvest?
Then there is cold storage. Red Acres is said to do very well in that department. Last year I grew Brunswick and Red Express and stored the two as an experiment. Red Express lasted over a month longer than Brunswick in our insulated garage. (I’ve really got to get serious and keep a log on my experiment so I could give accurate dates.) I tested the two because Brunswick is noted as a good storage cabbage and is probably for a green variety and I already knew from the year before that Red Express did fairly well.
I’ve later learned that red cabbage stores longer than green varieties so that explains it. The other explanation I found was that you want a dense, heavy cabbage for its size and Red Express has far more densely packed leaves than Brunswick which is the key. Red cabbages have less tender leaves than green so the cooking applications could change as to what you like in a salad versus cooked.
Cabbage usually keeps best at 32F. or 0C. and therefore does best under refrigeration where you can keep a constant temperature. Something I don’t have. But I want to try to eliminate the need for one of my freezers and install a smaller fridge instead to store vegetables. Cabbages, beets, and the like in the fall and then in the winter turn off the fridge to save energy. In the spring I can put some potatoes in it, to keep them from sprouting to give me a longer supply.
Next summer I want to use all that I’ve so far learned and see just how far I can stretch the fresh cabbage harvest. But I’ve got more experimenting to do this year. I am going to try and freeze cabbage to use, dry some to use in soups and smoothies, and in general expand my usage of cabbage.
But this isn’t enough. Cabbage is something you can grow as a microgreen. That is an area I want to get into for my winter grow light garden.
Now to get a plan put to paper. It is the only way this whole project will come to fruition.
- Multiply the number of cabbages grown on one plant.
2. Use transplants and direct seeding of cabbages.
3. Grow varieties with differing maturing dates.
4. Store cabbages suitable for long term storage.
5. Purchase an extra refrigerator to extend storage life.
6. Grow cabbage in a greenhouse.
4. Grow cabbage as a microgreen.
5. Freeze and dry cabbage for winter use.
There you go a 12 month plan so you can eat cabbage all year long.
But why? Well, cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and Vitamin K. It has magnesium, manganese, and folate. It also contains phytochemicals which help protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon also. It reduces LDL or “bad cholesterol”. In other words pretty good stuff and best of all it is easy to grow and great for the livestock too. Have you thought about how to become self-sufficient with a 12 month plan for cabbage? Do you have ideas for me?