Thursday, 27 August 2009

Only Two Problems With Growing Cabbages

Brassica oleracea viridis Cabbage at a market ...Image via Wikipedia

Right now I am growing cabbages, we rely on them for our winter salads in Bulgaria. They aren’t too difficult to grow, but getting past the seedling stage is the biggest problem and there are two reasons for that.

Regular watering is essential when planting out the seedlings, this really ensures they get a good steady grow in the summer heat and are never allowed to dry out. They need to be watered once a day on really hot spells but every two or three days will do. Another point is to not over-water as mould can set in.

The other major factor that prevents successful cabbages is butterflies and caterpillars. Butterflies are lovely to watch flittering around the crop but they lay their eggs and it is no long before your cabbage seedlings are nothing more than a skeleton.

Butterflies are fantastically beautiful especially with the many varieties that we get here in Bulgaria, but the most common butterfly is the aptly named cabbage white. Freshly planted tender cabbages are their favourite place for cabbage white butterflies and who can blame them in the heat of the summer when most tings are being harvested or has been harvested, the cabbage is the most green crop around and a magnet to them.

This is all very well but on a daily basis a check on every single cabbage needs to be made and any caterpillars seen need to be crushed immediately before they can inflict major damage and the loss of the crop. There is no room for sentiment here as it is a choice between the caterpillars and butterflies or winter food. We did not plant out cabbages for any other reason other then the latter. We don’t bother with chemicals it cost money and it’s not something we like doing form a health point of view. Five minutes a day squashing caterpillars is good enough.

Other than these two problems the cabbages will give a good crop providing us salad throughout the winter as we will gather them all up in November and store them in barrels of salted water. Can’t wait!
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