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Growing Giant Cabbage
Harry Willemse has been growing giant vegetables for
many years. He won 1st place at the 2005 Port Elgin
Pumpkinfest with a Giant Cabbage weighing in at 52
lbs. Here is brief description of how he grows them.
I like to start my cabbage plants in early to mid
March & start the seeds in Miracle Grow moisture
control growing mix. I use a 6 to 8 inch pot so as
not to allow the plant to become root bound. If I were
to start the plants in Jan or Feb. you would need to
use a larger pot.
I transplant them in mid May in a part of the garden
where I have worked in approximately 1 wheel barrel
of well-composted manure. I allow each plant a plot
about 8’ X 8’ in size. I fertilize them
as I do with the rest of the garden, which is approximately
200lbs triple 16, per acre. If you grow more than one
plant, I recommend you locate them apart from each
other, just in case one develops a disease. Also, do
not plant them where you have planted the cabbage the
year before. They require a new site each year, but
you can go back to the original site after a 2-year
Cabbages thrive on a high Nitrogen fertilizer & prefer
the soil to have PH between 7.0-7.5. I would suggest
a formula of 20-10-10 once every two weeks. This formula
can be used right up to harvest unless the cabbage
is reluctant to heart-up. If this is a problem, a single
feed of 10-10-20 should be applied before going back
to the high Nitrogen feed.
Once the plants are well established I spray the plants
whenever I spray my large pumpkins, with both fungicide
and insecticide. Pests to look out for are the Cabbage
Root Fly, White (cabbage) butterfly & caterpillars,
Mealy Bug, Cabbage White Fly, Slugs & Snails.
Another problem to watch for is Splitting. This is
usually caused by a heavy rain after an extended
period of dry weather. The sudden up-take of liquid
will be more than the plant can take & the heart
will split wide open. To prevent this from happening,
keep the soil around the plant moist at all times.
I water as needed. They do require a good soaking
once a week. I also believe partial shade would help
for the hot days of summer. This will keep the plant
from wilting in the extreme heat.
Care should be taken when harvesting a giant cabbage.
It is very easy to break off the large outside leaves.
Each outside leaf can weigh about 2 lbs each. Losing
a few could mean the difference between 1st or 2nd
place at your local weigh-off. Over time you will be
able to fine-tune your own techniques that suit the
area where you grow. These directions are only meant
as guidelines. I’d like to wish you all the best
growing these giants & hope to see you bring a
big one to the next weigh-off.
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