By: Mary Ellen Ellis
If you have limited space and want an early variety, Golden Cross cabbage plants should be your top choice for cabbage. This miniature cultivar is a green hybrid cabbage that grows in tight heads and allows for closer spacing and even container growing.
You’ll also get fully mature, tiny cabbage heads sooner than almost anything else in your vegetable garden.
The Golden Cross mini cabbage is a fun variety. The headsare just 6-7 inches (15-18 cm.) in diameter. The small size makes for easierstorage in the refrigerator and also for closer plantings in a vegetable bed orgrowing cabbagein containers.
Golden Cross is an early variety. The heads mature from seedin only 45 to 50 days. You can grow them twice, once in spring for earlycabbage and again in late summer or early fall for a later fall harvest.
The flavor of Golden Cross is similar to other greencabbages. It is suitable for a variety of uses in the kitchen. You can enjoythis cabbage raw, in coleslaw, pickled, in sauerkraut, stir fried or roasted.
Starting the Golden Cross cabbage variety from seed is quickand easy. Start in spring or late summer to early fall. Like all cabbages, thisis a cool weather vegetable. It will not grow well at 80 F. (27 C.) or warmer.
You can start seeds indoors or start them outside in bedsthree to five weeks before the last frost. Space seeds about 3-4 inches (8-10cm.) apart and then thin the seedlings to about 18 inches (46 cm.) apart.
Soil should be fertile, with compostmixed in if necessary and should drain well. Water cabbage regularly but onlythe soil. Avoid wetting the leaves to prevent rot diseases. Keep an eye out forcabbage pests including cabbageloopers, slugs,aphids,and cabbageworms.
To harvest,use a sharp knife to cut the heads from the base of the cabbage plant. Cabbageheads are ready when they are solid and firm. While all types of cabbage cantolerate a hard frost, it’s important to harvest heads before temperaturesstart getting lower than 28 F. (-2 C.). Heads that have been subjected to thosetemperatures won’t store as well.
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One of the earliest maturing varieties available! This is a fast growing, miniature type of cabbage that produces high yields of softball-sized heads. These sweet little cabbages are ideal for growing in containers or small space gardens. Perfect for a growing a quick crop during the cool weather of early spring or in late summer for autumn harvest.
Excellent for flavoring a variety of dishes. Wonderful for making fresh coleslaw or sauerkraut. Delicious when boiled or stir-fried. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.
Use a fertilizer formulated for vegetables.
Plant in a reliably sunny spot. Prefers fertile, well-drained soil and cooler temperatures. Keep soil moist, watering freely in dry weather. Fertilize regularly. Harvest as needed.
Select a sunny site, away from trees and close to a water source if possible.
Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller) to a depth of 12-16” (30-40cm). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients, and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy. Give plants an extra boost by adding a granulated fertilizer formulated for vegetables or and all-purpose feed (such as a fertilizer labeled 5-10-5).
Remove the plant from the container. If plants are in a pack, gently squeeze the outside of the individual plant cell while tipping container to the side. If plant doesn't loosen, continue pressing on the outside of the container while gently grasping the base of the plant and tugging carefully so as not to crush or break the stem until the plant is released. If the plant is in a pot, brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.
Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake apart the lower roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.
Check the plant label for suggested spacing and the mature height of the plant. Position plants so that taller plants are in the center or background of the garden and shorter plants in the foreground.
Plan ahead for plants that get tall and require staking or support cages. It's best to install cages early in the spring, at planting time, before the foliage gets bushy. Vining vegetables can occupy a lot of space, so provide a trellis, fence, or other structure that allows the plant to grow vertically to maximize garden space.
Ideally water should only be applied to the root zone - an area roughly 6-12” (15-30cm) from the base of the plant, not the entire plant. A soaker hose is a great investment for keeping plants healthy and reducing water lost through evaporation. Hand watering using a watering wand with a sprinkler head attached is also a good way to control watering. If the garden area is large, and a sprinkler is necessary, try to water in the morning so that plant foliage has time to dry through the day. Moist foliage encourages disease and mold that can weaken or damage plants.
Thoroughly soaking the ground every 2-3 days is better than watering a little bit daily. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance. How often to water will depend on rainfall, temperature and how quickly the soil drains.
To check for soil moisture use your finger or a small trowel to dig in and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.
A well prepared planting bed enriched with organic matter such as compost or manure and a mild general-purpose, granulated fertilizer gets plants off to a good start. Give plants a boost later in the season with a fertilizer formulated for vegetables.
Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed.
Be sure to keep the garden well-weeded. Weeds take vital moisture and nutrients away from the vegetable plants.
There are several reasons to prune vegetable plants: to help contain a plant’s size, to promote bushy compact growth, to remove dead or diseased stems, and to promote larger, healthier fruit yields.
Flower buds can be pinched off to force the plant energy into fewer fruits that develop faster.
Vining plants can become invasive in a confined garden space. If necessary, entire vines can be removed down to the main stem to keep plants under control.
Never prune away more than 1/3 of the plant or it may become weak and unproductive.
Remove vegetables as soon as they mature. Leaving them on the plant any longer than necessary can affect flavor and texture, and mature fruit steals energy from younger developing fruits.
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Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Golden Cross Cabbage produces very flavorful heads of cabbage and is one of the earliest maturing cabbages around maturing in as few as 40 days!
Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F · Comment About Planting
Set out spring cabbage plants early enough so that they can mature before the heat of summer, about 4 weeks before the last frost date in your area. New transplants just out of a greenhouse need to be protected from freezing weather. Plant fall cabbage 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost. Growing plants that have been exposed to cool weather become “hardened” and are tolerant of frost. Cabbage that matures in cool weather is deliciously sweet. Cabbage needs at least 6 hours or more of full sun each day. It also likes fertile, well-drained, moist soil with plenty of organic matter. The soil pH should be between 6.5 and 6.8 for optimum growth and to discourage clubroot disease.
To be sure about your soil pH you can get the soil tested through your local Cooperative Extension Office or test it yourself with a soil pH test kit purchased from your local nursery and garden center. If necessary, apply fertilizer and lime using the results of the soil test as a guide.
In the absence of a soil test, add nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure to the soil or work a timed-release vegetable food into the soil before planting.
When planting cabbage, set plants deeply so that about half of the main stem is buried. Space about 12 to 18 inches apart. further is better to allow plants room to grow.
Cabbage needs even moisture to produce good heads. Mulch with compost, finely ground leaves, or finely ground bark to keep the soil cool and moist and to keep down weeds. Water regularly, applying 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week if it doesn’t rain.
Depending on your location, planting dates will vary. Start by trying spring and fall planting dates recommended by your local nursery and garden center or your local extension service. Cabbage is a cool-season crop and will not fare well in mid-summer heat in hotter zones.