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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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#8

Post: # 50498Unread post JRinPA
Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:42 am

I learned a bit from this thread and I appreciated the input. I ended up composting those plants above when I put in summer squash. I did take the leaves from one but I think they were overlooked in the kitchen.

I had the row cover over this spring's cabbage/broc/caul rows (parts of 2 adjacent rows) until they were pushing leaves to breakage, maybe 3 weeks back. It kept out most of the cabbage butterflies. Though there was a day I saw a flash in the tunnel, so I shook it, and had five of them in the tunnel, presumably through a small hole in the top. They may have got some eggs planted that day. Overall it worked pretty well. The black woven ground cover was already holed in a staggered double row pattern, about (I think) 12" in the row and 22" between the doubles. So I planted alternating like this, leaving cabbages the most space,
L----R
Br----
----Cau
Skip---
---Skip
Cab---
---Skip
Skip---
----Br
Cau---
---Skip
Skip---
----Cab
This seemed to give plenty of space for everything. I put some spinach transplants in the skips at some point and got some return on that as well.

My broccoli was harvested about 2 weeks back, all had heads, and five were nice big heads. Very little in the way of worms. And some side shoots were taken today, they look like they will continue for a while.
The cauliflower headed pretty well, I'd say 2 big, 3 med, and 1 small, picked a couple days back. Some worms on all, but only 1 had a lot. Cabbage worms and diamondback moth. Real nice heads, gave one away and a couple meals plus 9 quart bags blanched and frozen yesterday from the other five.
Three of the six cabbage came out today, all...green? I don't know exactly what the mix was, green and red, or green, red, and savoy? I picked the three that were big and solid and had some frass showing. There is one red left, still small. There is a med greenish that I'll give a few days yet.
And the last cabbage plant - the plant that made me think of this thread - appears to have either 4 or 5 small heads forming, rather than a central head. I'm wondering if that transplant was damaged? When I put them in, it was dry and windy soon after, and I didn't put the cover on right away. I watered them in for at least a few days by hand. I think the stem on that plant may well have broken off?

I could surely plant the exact same way next year and be happy with the results. Maybe the only change would be sewing up some AG19 lengthwise to make a 13' wide sheet, and then let it out a bit as they grow so they can really push it without breaking leaves against it or holing it. It would be great to keep that cover over it right through the harvest, as it only takes a couple weeks exposed for them to start showing worm damage.

My spring brassica harvest has come along way since my first try on broccoli and cauliflower a few years back. I had sworn off spring cauliflower, twice, but now its back! Many thanks to all that have shared their knowledge!

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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#9

Post: # 50499Unread post JRinPA
Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:51 am

Last pics taken of those rows look like 6/28. Same rows as the corn.
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#10

Post: # 50513Unread post Bower
Thu Jul 15, 2021 7:24 am

They look like a lovely harvest. :)
One advice about growing under row cover next year, is not to plant brassicas in the same place, and not to leave any residues over winter. I have seen the results of those mistakes, one year at my friend's farm. Pests overwintered and emerged under the row cover, even though there was some bed prep in the spring (pulling residues and tilling). It was not a happy sight - this crop ended in the compost no harvest to be had.
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#11

Post: # 50515Unread post MissS
Thu Jul 15, 2021 8:17 am

Bower wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 7:24 am
They look like a lovely harvest. :)
One advice about growing under row cover next year, is not to plant brassicas in the same place, and not to leave any residues over winter. I have seen the results of those mistakes, one year at my friend's farm. Pests overwintered and emerged under the row cover, even though there was some bed prep in the spring (pulling residues and tilling). It was not a happy sight - this crop ended in the compost no harvest to be had.
Thanks Bower. That's really good advise!
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Re: can/will cabbage head from last year's root

#12

Post: # 50577Unread post JRinPA
Fri Jul 16, 2021 1:46 am

Yes it is. I will make sure to rotate them, especially since I don't rototill for the most part, just broadfork.

For the most part I rotate most everything. Not a fixed rotation, types A-B-C, but I try not to repeat years. I took the chance this year on summer squash and it was fine in the same spot, almost no bugs so far this year actually, though I did Sevin dust those stems and have killed a few SVB moths on upper leaves this month. Last year that bed was was summer squash/garlic, then those above brassicas in the fall, just a bit too late/not ideal fall sun.

Peppers and Eggplant have also sort of taken over the 30 ft raised bed at home. They do so well there. I used Sevin dust last month on them and haven't take the agribon off yet, though they are trying to rip it. Every year, flea beetles are already in my transplants when they are ready to plant...so the dust really helps. Sevin's effectiveness versus flea beetles, japanese beetles, and false potato beetles is why I don't plant eggplant at the comm garden much.

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