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Cabbage with small heads, what went wrong?


 
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DEEPDIGGER
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:52 am    Post subject: Cabbage with small heads, what went wrong? Reply with quote

i planted savoys last autumn

good firm planting

the stalks are 2 foot long but the heads are the size of a fist.

what went wrong


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slowcompost
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm was there enough light it would result in tall weak plants if there wasnt... its strange though do you have clubroot it could result in erratic growth
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DEEPDIGGER
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

no club root

loads of light
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies DEEPDIGGER for going over some of the possible issues already mentioned by other posters, but if you don't mind I will list them all here as a matter of record.
Bit of a long one this. Wink

Small heads or heartless cabbages can be called white one of the following or a combination of the following.....

Arrow Soil Ph problems.
Spring cabbage doesn't grow very well in a strongly acid or strongly alkaline soil. This is because most essential vegetable nutrients in the soil are soluble and available for use at pH levels of 5.5 to 7.5 (slightly acid to neutral). Most vegetables grow best within this range, as is the case with spring cabbage where 7.0 is about optimum.

If the pH (relative acidity or alkalinity) of your soil is not suited to the vegetable, then soil nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, iron, boron, copper, manganese and zinc start to become unavailable, leading to poor crops. You can use a simple home soil test available in most garden centres to determine your soils ph. By taking account of the test results you can then decide how much if any amendments are required to bring the to pH of your vegetable garden soil in line.

The application of ground lime will be helpful in countering the excessive acidity. As a rough rule of thumb, an application of 250g of ground lime per metre squared the autumn before planting/sowing will commonly increase your ph by about one point. However as lime is available in different formulations and soil types vary, I advise also consulting the rates set out on the pack.

If you need to decrease your ph to make the soil more acid, then you can apply sulphate of iron at a rate of 100g per metre squared for each drop in ph point. Apply this product according to the manufacturers instructions and heed safety warnings especially those concerning the use of protective clothing and equipment. An application of 2 inches of peat moss worked in to a spades depth all over the proposed growing area will also go a good way towards dropping your soil by one ph point.

Arrow Low levels of organic matter in the soil.
For long term feeding of your crop, every 10m2 of growing area should have one wheelbarrow load of well-rotted homemade compost or farmyard animal manure spread over its surface sometime during the autumn/early winter before planting/sowing. Dig this in to a spades depth all over the proposed growing area to enrich it for your crop. Whilst digging, remove any stones and other obstacles that might cause the roots to become malformed.

As a rule of thumb, well-rotted manure/compost will be over six months old, and tend to be dark brown will little if any smell. You should not be able to distinguish individual pieces of straw, hay, vegetable peelings, grass etc., as it will all be rotted down.

Arrow Soil in the planting bed which was not firmed correctly when the bid was being created, or failure to firm around the seedlings when planting.
Pop each transplant into the prepared hole, and don't worry that you are planting them too deep. Plant the seedlings firmly, after which they should be well watered taking great care not to disturb the roots. The 4-inch deep holes will often swallow the plant up to its first leaves but that will solve the problem of leggy wind-rocked stems.

Arrow Excessive shade.
Although cabbage can tolerate shade they will do much better in a sunny spot.

Arrow Soil drying out, as can be the case with certain raised beds.
Do not allow the plants to dry out as this will result in plant bolting. A mulch of some form helps preserve soil moisture, for example herbicide-free grass clippings.

During a prolonged spell without rain (week or more) you should water gently but deeply once a week. As a rough rule of thumb apply approx 10 litres per metre squared of soil area. Carry out this watering in the morning and try to avoid splashing the leaves, watering the soil instead.

Arrow Improper feeding, such as a feed excessively high in nitrogen. A balanced feed would be much more suitable.
A week or two before sowing your seed should lightly rake a well-balanced fertilizer into your growing area followed by lightly treading the soil. Growmore or fish blood and bone (organic option) are both suitable for this purpose. Apply according to the rates on the pack.

At about the forth or fifth week after seed germination and while plants are growing strongly you can apply a second application of a well balanced fertiliser. Although not essential, a further scattering of Growmore or fish blood and bone can increase the vegetables vigour and make the less susceptible to plant ills. Once scattered the fertiliser should be lightly scratched into the soils surface followed by gentle but deep watering of the soil.

Arrow Then there is always the possibility that a sudden sharp frost could have affected the size of the cabbages. Covering them with fleece is one option to protect against this.

Most of this info, and more to be found on my allotments.ie post........ Cabbage growing.

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