Feeding Cabbage Plants: When And How To Fertilize Cabbage Correctly
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By: Laura Miller
Perhaps you’ve heard cabbage is a heavy feeder. When growingcabbage, adequate amounts of nutrients are necessary to produce large headswith healthy leaves. Whether you’re growing a few plants or a field of cabbage,knowing how to fertilize cabbage is the key to a successful crop.
Cabbage Fertilizer Basics
Enriching garden soil with organiccompost is one of the best ways to supply the nutrients necessary forfeeding cabbage plants. When using homemade compost, incorporate 2 to 4 inches(5 to 10 cm.) of compost into the garden soil in late fall or early winter.This gives the compost time to fully decay so the valuable nutrients are readyfor the plants in the spring.
In lieu of using compost for feeding cabbage plants,chemical fertilizer can be added to the garden soil. Choose a balancedfertilizer, such as 10-10-10. This can be tilled directly into the gardenbed as it’s being prepared for spring planting. Testingthe soil before fertilizing cabbages is recommended.
The test results can be used to amend the soil and make upfor any nutritional deficiencies. Cabbages prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5 andrequire adequate amounts of micronutrients such as calcium,magnesium,sulfurand zincfor optimal growth.
When to Feed Cabbages
When starting seeds indoors, begin fertilizing cabbageplants once they have two to four true leaves. A diluted solution of a balanced(10-10-10) liquid fertilizer, weak composttea or fishemulsion is recommended. This can be repeated every two weeks.
Once cabbage plants have been transplanted into a preparedgarden bed, continue applying cabbage fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks until headsbegin to form. Avoid using fertilizer with high levels of nitrogen, as thisencourages excess foliage growth and reduced head formation.
Tips for Fertilizing Cabbages
Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when mixing andapplying cabbage fertilizer.
Incorporate a slow-release, granular or pelleted fertilizerinto the soil prior to planting. Switch to a liquid fertilizer or side-dresscabbage plants by burying granular or pelleted fertilizer in shallow trenchesin and around plants. Heavy rainfalls can dissolve solid forms of fertilizerlying on the garden surface. This can splatter heavy concentrations offertilizer directly onto cabbages causing leaf burn and damage to the plants.
Avoid additional applications of fertilizer after cabbagesbegin to form heads. This can cause rapid growth resulting in splitor cracked heads.
Water cabbage plants before the soil dries completely. Notonly do cabbage plants prefer a consistently moist soil, but water is essentialfor absorbing nutrients from the soil.
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After transplanting, provide your new seedlings (or sprouting seeds) some protection if needed. There is nothing worse than going through all that effort and then having something damage or kill your plants! Trust me. Been there, done that. We have an issue with wild birds picking at our smallest tender seedlings here. Therefore, we add these awesome little hoops with netting on top to keep them safe until they get larger and more established!
The row cover netting we use is dual-purpose, and also keeps cabbage moths and other flying insects away. A similar set-up can be used with a thicker row cover meant for frost protection, if that is a concern where you live. This may also help to deter squirrels, rodents, cats, and other larger pests – unless they’re really determined! Learn all about using hoops and row covers for pest control, shade and frost protection in this article. It also covers how to set up DIY PVC hoops and various row cover materials.
Protecting all our newly planted seedlings. In these beds are many types of cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, bok choy, and various other asian greens. Now to turn over the remaining beds!
And that is how we turn over our garden beds and amend soil between seasons.
I hope you found this article useful and learned something new! If you’re here reading this, I assume you already have a garden set up? Yet if you need any tips on how to design and build raised beds, check out this article.
Always feel free to reach out in the comments with questions, feedback, or just to say hi. Let us know what’s going on in your garden, or what types of mulch or compost you like to use! Also feel free to share this article with your friends, or pin it below. Thanks for tuning in, and happy planting!