Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) is a biennial leafy vegetable that usually grows as an annual plant, unless we want to collect its seeds. It is a well known vegetable, mostly used in various salads. It is one of the most common salad ingredients in many parts of the world. In some cases, raw cabbage can be used to make juice.
Cabbage heart, which is also called head, can be conical or rounded. It is recognised by its colourful leaves, with dark green, light green, red or purple being the most common among them. Colour usually depends on the variety of cabbage that we decided to grow. Some types have tender and smooth leaves, while others have wrinkled leaves. We usually divide cabbage in different types according to the period that we plan to harvest them.
- Spring Cabbages. We normally harvest them in mid to late spring.
- Summer Cabbages. We normally harvest them in summer or early autumn.
- Fall and Winter Cabbages. We can harvest them the rest of the year.
- Savoy Cabbages. This cabbage type has a long harvest period, from autumn until late spring.
Cabbage is a resilient vegetable that generally prefers cool weather. In most cases, the ideal temperature is between 45 and 75 °F degrees (7-23 °C). It is a frost tolerant plant and can survive in temperatures as low as 20 °F degrees (-6 °C). In regions with cool summers, we can start seeding our plants in the last days of spring for a fall harvest. In cool climates, with a mild winter, we can plant cabbage during summer in order to harvest it in winter or spring. Cabbage matures in 80 to 180 days from seeding to harvesting. However, this depends on the variety that we grow and the time of the year we choose to plant it. The cabbage plant is consisted of the roots, stems, leaves and flowers. Its leaves develop in layers. They grow very close to one another, and altogether they consist a ball or head.
In the first year, the plant has a height of 40-60cm (15-23 inches) when it reaches maturity. In its second year, the flower stem can reach a height of 2m (6,5 ft.) while in flowering stage.
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