Cabbage, a leafy vegetable of the mustard family. The common cabbage has a dense head of light-green, juicy leaves with a distinctive odor. There are many varieties of cabbage. The red variety is characterized by its strong flavor; the Savoy, by its puckered, blistered leaves.
Cabbage is eaten raw or cooked. In its raw form it is an excellent source of vitamin C. A popular way of preparing cabbage is to chop it, sprinkle it with salt, and allow it to ferment slightly. The result is a crisp, acidic-flavored food called sauerkraut. Raw sliced or chopped cabbage is often made into a salad called coleslaw.
The cabbage is a cultivated variety of a small, thick-leaved herb native to the coasts of northwestern Europe. Many important vegetables were developed from this plant, including kohlrabi, kale, collards, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. The wild cabbage is still found on the chalk cliffs of England.
The cabbage plant is hardy and relatively easy to grow in any cool soil where there is plenty of moisture. It is grown all over the United States and thrives in all climates except those that are extremely hot and dry. In the South, the crop is grown in winter and spring. In the North, it is produced chiefly in early summer and fall.
If the cabbage head is protected from freezing, it will produce an enormous number of seeds during its second year. These are usually planted indoors in flats (plant trays) to protect the young plants from frost and insects. When the plants are five to six weeks old, they are transferred to the field. They require frequent cultivation.Cabbage is a vegetable of the mustard family with a dense head of green, juicy leaves.
Cabbage has many insect enemies and is subject to several diseases. Caterpillars such as the cabbage worm, cabbage looper, web-worm, and cutworm eat holes in the leaves or destroy the young plants. These pests are controlled with calcium or lead arsenate on young plants and with rotenone when the edible parts appear.
The cabbage aphid sucks plant juices and stunts growth. Nicotine controls it. The red and black harlequin bug also sucks the juices. It is hard to kill. It is controlled largely by destroying old plants and picking off the adult insects by hand. A root maggot that attacks young plants in the North is killed with pesticides such as diazinone.
Bacterial and fungal diseases of cabbage include black rot, clubroot, and wilt. Controls include treating the seed with hot water, adding lime to the soil, and the use of Terraclor, a fungicide.
Wild cabbage is Brassica oleracea. The Savoy and red varieties are B. o. capitata. They all belong to the mustard family, Cruciferae.