can/will cabbage head from last year's root

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JRinPA
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can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#1

Post: # 45751Unread post JRinPA
Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:21 pm

I cut my fall cabbage in late October. The bed is suboptimal for fall due to afternoon house shade, and the plants were put out late. We got six small cabbages that tasted great. I cut the stems about 4" high and left them in over the winter.

A while back the cut stems started leafing out with side shoots. Now at the end of April, most of the six stems have multiple side shoots and are nearing a foot tall.

Some might laugh, but I know little about cabbage so laugh away: will these shoots produce decent heads? Or small only? Or no heads at all? I'm thinking maybe thin to one, maybe two each and leave them in?

I literally just bought a six pack of cabbage starts (20 minutes ago), so it is not like I need to grow these out. But I am curious because they are huge compared to these new plants.
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#2

Post: # 45752Unread post Bower
Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:48 pm

Wow they are beautiful plants JR. You might get some small cabbages forming, but more likely those stalks will bolt and set seed, since the cabbage like many other brassicas is a biennial. Surviving the winter is probably all the trigger they need to produce flowers and seeds. If you have the space, you can keep them for a cabbage seed crop. Another option is to cut the bud shoots when they form little 'broccoli' like heads, and eat them. A friend of mine overwintered some cabbages for seed, and he mentioned that their 'mockoli' are tender and delicious. So you can get an early vegetable from them being so far ahead, but probably not a head of cabbage.
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#3

Post: # 45776Unread post Whwoz
Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:06 pm

Judging by the way they are growing, those stems are running to Seed. When cabbages form little heads are cutting, they look just like oversized sprouts or small cabbages against the stalk, not on stems like those. We see it regularly here down under where climatic conditions are a bit different.

No reason why you can't eat those young shoots.
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#4

Post: # 45777Unread post JRinPA
Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:57 pm

Biennial, never heard that term. At least, it never stuck. So, like parsnips, cabbage will not flower the first season. This makes sense, but why have I never realized that?

I will probably cut the shoots to eat and pull them all. That spot is excellent for summer squash. But I have come to accept it is not ideal for a fall crop. By October it is at or under 3 hrs of sun. Those heads were about softball size.

I bought cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage starts, a 6 pack of each. The cabbage are a mix of type so should self stagger the harvest. I think I'll put them all under the same row cover, but spread out the cabbage that will hopefully be the largest/longest time frame plants. Probably a double row and sort of plant them x y z x y z x y z....instead of all broccoli xxxxxx all cauliflower yyyyyy all cabbage zzzzzz.

So far it has been an extremely dry spring, here. Peas are only about 3" high...
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#5

Post: # 45802Unread post ponyexpress
Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:22 pm

Bower wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:48 pm
You might get some small cabbages forming, but more likely those stalks will bolt and set seed, since the cabbage like many other brassicas is a biennial.
I wonder how the seed growers produce cabbage seeds? Do they grow it normally and the cut the heads off so that they get some money for the plant this year and leave the stalk in the ground to produce seeds for the next year?
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#6

Post: # 45805Unread post Whwoz
Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:47 pm

One would expect bulk seed growers to leave the head on - it would act as an energy store for the plant producing bigger flower stalks with more seed than small side heads would produce
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#7

Post: # 45806Unread post Bower
Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:16 pm

Yeah, you will not get the full seed crop from a plant that's been cut back to a stump.
Also, these brassicas are outbreeders and a risk you will suffer from inbreeding depression if you only had a couple of plants of the same variety.
So for an OP cabbage, the seed producers would be overwintering a decent plot of cabbages with the heads intact.
They may do some selection as well, cull any poor heads in the fall and just keep the best of the lot.
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