Tag Archives: cole crops

Growing Cabbage in the Ozarks

Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower transplants show up the first of April at several places around town. Yet growing cabbage in the Ozarks is a dicey affair at best.

Cole crops like cool weather. Seventies is as warm as they like to be. Eighties is a disaster in the making.

There are several problems with cole crops in hot weather. First and foremost is the bitter taste. All cole crops seem to have a bit of bitter taste to them. Hot weather multiplies this to inedible.

growing cabbage takes cool weather
Cool weather and rain delight cabbage plants. They are mulched and have few weeds, mostly a few grass plants. The pathways around the patch are not mulched yet. They are deep in chickweed and dead nettle, great early spring bee food.

A second problem is mostly a cabbage problem. The heads rot. A series of cool days will encourage the plants to form heads. One day of eighty degree weather might bleach the top leaf. A second day starts the inside of the head to wilt down leaving a pile of stinky ooze the third day.

Broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi promptly send up flower stalks. They flower almost overnight turning scraggy and dying a few days later.

A friend wants cabbage in the spring. I get the varieties with the shortest maturity dates, put them in and hope for the best.

growing cabbage takes time
Green cabbage comes as three different varieties of transplants. Those in my patch are the two with the shortest maturation times. Their window has been open longer than usual. Once temperatures bounce up into the eighties, cabbage leaves are on the menu.

Cabbage leaves are edible too.

This year has not decided what to do yet. Through April the temperatures dithered from days in the sixties to days in the seventies tossing in a couple of eighties.

Growing cabbage under these conditions is not ideal. My plants are heavily mulched to keep the ground cool. Since it keeps raining an inch or two a week, I’m hoping the mulch isn’t too wet.

growing red cabbage
There must be more varieties of red cabbage, but only one shows up as transplants. It takes longer to mature than the green ones. I like it because it is so pretty.

Typically spring in the Ozarks is short. We’ve had the usual amount, even a bit more. Any day could turn into summer.

For now my growing cabbage is happy and starting to think about making heads. I watch, wait and hope.

In the meantime the tomato and pepper seedlings are doing well. They prefer eighty degree days, but tolerate sixties and seventies once they’ve germinated.