The Brassica oleracea var. capitata is a vegetable grown in Europe for millennia; it seems to have been cultivated and consumed already in the times of the ancient Romans; there are three main groupings, the white cabbage, the purple cabbage and the cabbage; it is the same plant, tens of cultivars are available for each group, different for maturation time, development season, shape and size of the hood. These are annual plants, which develop a dense flower head, consisting of large roundish leaves, the flower head is so narrow and compact that a large roundish "head" is formed in the center, whose size varies from 10-15 cm in diameter up to at 70-80 cm in diameter in giant varieties. The leaves of Brassica oleracea var. capitata are eaten raw or cooked, they are used to prepare sauerkraut, cooking the leaves in water and vinegar, in order to preserve them for a long time.
Specimens of Brassica oleracea var. capitata reach maturity in about 60-120 days starting from sowing; there are spring, autumn and summer sowing varieties; in general the best development occurs with a cool climate, therefore in Italy the young plants tend to be planted in the vegetable garden in autumn or at the end of winter, for a winter or late spring harvest. The young plants can also be obtained from the seeds of the previous year's specimens: keeping a cabbage plant on the ground, this will produce thin erect stems that carry numerous small yellow flowers, followed by seed pods. Since the cabbage has been cultivated for thousands of years in our gardens, we always plant cultivars, which is why the plants obtained from seed are not always identical to the mother plant; for this reason we prefer to buy young plants already developed, or even seeds, already selected.
They are grown in a soft soil, enriched with mature and well-worked manure in depth; the young plants are arranged in rows at least 20-35 cm apart from each other.
They need full sun and love a fresh and well-drained soil; do not tolerate drought, therefore it is necessary to intervene with watering when the soil has been dry for a few days: winter cultivation generally does not need watering, as the climate usually provides the right rainfall. It is good to check that the chosen substrate does not allow the formation of water stagnations that could easily lead to the onset of rot.
Cabbage - Brassica oleracea var. capitata: Possible Diseases
The brassica generally fears the attack of snails, especially the young plants, and of the cabbage butterflies, whose larvae quickly devour the foliage; in general, winter cultivation also obviates this problem, given that the inclement climate does not favor the development of pests; if instead spring cabbages are grown it is advisable to cover them with non-woven fabric or fine mesh, so as to mechanically prevent insect access to the foliage of our plants. In the event of an infestation already in progress, we will promptly eliminate the insects that could destroy the entire harvest.