Agri Sba: Cabbage Production

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Cabbage production
Cabbage grows best in cool weather, but certain cultivars are also adapted for the warmer months. In the cooler areas of the country, where frost usually occurs early or late in the season, Glory of Enkhuizen, Kiaps Spits, Green Coronet and Gloria can be planted from January to March, and Green Star and Bonanza, from August to January. In the warmer areas of the country, where little to no frost occurs, Glory of Enkhuizen, Kiaps Spits, Green Coronet and Gloria can be planted from March to May, and Green Star and Bonanza, from January to December. Cabbage grows best when plantlets are grown and then planted out. You can grow your own plants or buy them from a nursery. Remember that cabbage plantlets cannot be planted out before the age of five to six weeks. If you want to plant out at the beginning of February, for instance, you must already sow the seed in the middle of December. Cabbage will grow well on most well drained soil types. That means that water must not lay on the ground surface too long after the plants have been watered. Where this is the case, compost must be dug into the soil. Shallow soils on a hard rocky, clayey or lime layer, must be avoided. Cabbage takes up many plant nutrients from the soil. We put plant nutrients into the soil by digging compost and fertiliser into it. A great deal of organic plant food such as compost and manure is necessary for the plant. When the bed is dug over, 4 kg of compost or manure per square meter (m2) of ground can be dug into the soil. By the way, 1 m2 equals the size of a square meter, the sides of which consist of spades. Compost and manure do not, however, provide the cabbage plant with enough plant nutrients. It also requires nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). It is most important first to analyses the soil to determine its nutrient content. Remember: an excessive amount of nutrients will burn the plants and a too small amount will result in poor growth. If a soil analysis has not yet been done, the following quantities of fertiliser may be applied: At planting: 75 g of 2:3:2 (30) per m2.

These plant nutrients are a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This means that three plant nutrients are given to the plant simultaneously. These nutrients must be dug into the soil well, before planting. Four weeks after planting:

25 g of ammonium sulphate per m2, or
20 g of limestone ammonium nitrate (LAN) per m2.
As soon as the plants begin to form heads, the following can be applied: 25 g of ammonium sulphate per m2, or
20 g of limestone ammonium nitrate (LAN) per m2.
Take care not to let the plant nutrients touch the plants as this can burn the stems. Water the plants as soon as possible after having fertilized them, so that the nutrients can dissolve and be washed into the soil. Before the plantlets are planted, the soil must be dug over, clods, stones and weeds must be removed, and the soil must be leveled. The cabbage plantlets are planted in rows. In-row spacing must be approximately 40 cm and between-row spacing must be 60 cm. The soil in which the plants were grown must be moist when the plants are taken out to be replanted. They must be lifted carefully out of the ground so that the roots are not damaged. Choose short, sturdy, healthy plants to plant out. After they have been taken out, they must be covered with a moist cloth or hessian until they are planted. They must preferably be planted on cool, cloudy days or late in the afternoon. The plantlets must be planted in moist soil which is then firmly pressed down around the plant. After the plantlets have been planted, they must be watered as soon as possible. A mulch of grass clippings, dry leaves or straw between the plants prevents evaporation of soil moisture and also suppresses weed growth. If the soil is allowed to become too dry, and it is then watered, it may happen that the cabbage heads burst open. In cool weather, cabbage can be watered once a week; in very...
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