Organic cabbage seeds will produce heads up to 8 pounds in size under proper conditions. They can be chopped into salads, used in stir fry, cooked with hamburger into Runzas or made into sauerkraut. The heads can be refrigerated or store in different methods for extended period. The colors include a deep dark red and various shades of green. This cool season crop does require 50 degree soil temperatures for the best germination. After sprouting they will grow best in 60 degree temperature ranges.
Start cabbage seeds indoors 10 weeks before they will be transplanted outside. This should be just following the last frost unless cold frames or heat frames are used. When starting seeds indoors for fall planting, plan 12-14 weeks before the first expected frost, and transplant after 4-5 weeks. This should provide adequate time for them to grow before the end of the season. Plant them where they will be in the sun and prepare the soil using organic fertilizers so it will be rich and fertile. Keep it moist and provide enough space for large heads.
Keep seeds damp and warm enough during their germination phase. They should not be allowed to dry out while growing or the leaves can become bitter. Row covers and hand picking of pests can help prevent bugs and the need for sprays. Cutworms can be avoided by placing collars around the plants when transplanting. Try to pick heads when they are firm, but before they split open.
Allow heads to form on some of plants in order to save them for the following planting. Cabbage heads can be stored by hanging them in mesh bags upside down in a dry, cool area that will not freeze. This preserves the head, but some of the exterior leaves may need to be removed before they are used. Cabbage is a well-touted vegetable that provides high amounts of Vitamins A and C.
Cabbage heads can be grown in may sizes and colors, including small individual sized Pak Choi. Some offer longer or shorter durations, and different bolt resistance, so read descriptions to see which type does best in a given climate. Fall offers a second chance for gardeners who may have missed spring planting of this and other cool season crops. Organic cabbage seeds and heirloom cabbage seeds can be planted based on their length and bolt rates for an extended season:
• Late Flat Dutch Cabbage Seeds- This is the largest variety, that can easily grow to 12 pounds, however a monster 38 pound head has been grown. It has a longer 104 day season, so start it indoors for a shot at that record.
• Organic Red Express Cabbage Seeds – This beautiful purplish-red head adds color intensity to salads. It has 2-4 pound heads within approximately 63 days.
• Organic Golden Acre Cabbage Seeds – This choice also has 2-4 pounds that are popular for their uniformity and short 62 day growing cycle.
Organic cabbage seeds and heirloom choices provide the home gardener with a crop that can begin in stages throughout the first few months of summer. Cabbage has long been a staple and is considered a healthy addition to salads. Besides its popular use in sauerkraut it can be boiled and served with vinegar or used in stir frying. Organic growing practices allows the home gardener to know their food supply doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
Many varieties of organic and heirloom seeds are found at Sustainable Seed Company http://sustainableseedco.com/. They also provide information about storing seeds for the following year and organic growing methods.