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Why Aren’t My Cabbage Plants Growing? Helpful Tips

Growing your own produce can be an empowering practice of sustainability, and cabbage is a great crop to have on hand – it’s affordable, nutritious, and filling. But, when you’re a new gardener or homesteader, you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way. Sometimes your cabbage plants don’t turn out how you want them to.

Your cabbage plants aren’t growing due to environmental factors that can be easily resolved. The biggest culprits are improper soil nutrition, an overly warm or cold climate, and invasive insect species. These can be solved through garden planning, supplementation, and natural pesticide treatment.

With some know-how and endurance, you can easily treat your cabbage plants. Read on to learn more about the best techniques for healthy cabbage.

Improper Soil Nutrition

Most of us know that when we don’t eat nutritious food, it can inhibit our growth and potentially cause serious illness. We need proper food to be able to build muscles, bones, and blood.

The same logic goes for plants, as well – if they don’t receive the proper nutrients, they will grow poorly and can fall victim to diseases. They need nutrients to be able to develop healthy stems, leaves, and heads. Plants receive their nutrients from the soil in which they are planted, so if you plant your cabbage in poor quality soil, your plants will not be able to grow to their maximum capacity, and you will be left with small heads of cabbage.

Before you plant your cabbage crop, it’s important to know what the nutritional content of your soil is. The best way to determine the quality of the soil you’re planning to plant your cabbage in is to use a do-it-yourself test. Many of these are available in hardware or farm supply stores and are relatively inexpensive. In this video, you can see how easy it is to perform an at-home soil test for your garden.

While it’s much easier to prevent poor cabbage growth before planting, sometimes you only discover the issue after your plants have already sprouted. Much like people need calcium to grow healthy bones, cabbage plants need calcium in order to grow properly. 

If you discover that your soil is deficient in calcium after having already planted your cabbage, the easiest way to remedy that is to mix a liquid calcium supplement into your gardening routine – an easy-to-apply liquid is Safer Gro Biomin Calcium.

Another nutrient that’s important for cabbage growth is nitrogen. If your soil is lacking in nitrogen, an easy and safe product that will help replenish nitrogen levels is Joyful Dirt Fertilizer. What’s helpful about this particular fertilizer is that it’s designed in a shakable container, which means you can simply sprinkle it around the cabbage plants, water them, and get along with your day.

The final nutrient that’s important for cabbage growth is boron. If you have to deal with a boron deficiency in your soil, it’s likely that you already have the remedy in your bathroom or laundry room. One of the best sources of boron for plants is Twenty Mule Team Borax. According to Aggie Horticulture from Texas A&M University, just a tiny sprinkle is enough to cure a soil-based boron deficiency.

Overly Warm/Cold Climate

Much like some people feel healthier when they’re in a warmer climate and others feel better in a cooler climate, plants have preferences as to what climate they’re grown in. Cabbage plants tend to like to be planted in cooler climates. Farmers like New England, the Pacific Northwest, and northern parts of Appalachia will have an easier time growing cabbage than those in the Southern parts of the country.

If you live in an area where the summers get hot, you will need to make sure that cabbage is one of the first plants you put in your garden. In northern parts of the US, the early days of spring are the best for planting cabbage. Just make sure to wait out the frost.

If you plant your cabbage too late, it might be exposed to temperatures that will stunt its growth. The most common issue that occurs when cabbage plants are exposed to temperatures that are too high is “bolting,” or the sudden flowering of a plant. While flowers are beautiful on some plants, they’re not ideal for farmers trying to cultivate cabbage – the process of bolting causes the plant to turn bitter if not picked quickly after flowering.

Though they enjoy chillier weather, you also don’t want to expose your cabbage plants to weather that’s too frigid. Ensure that when you’re planting your cabbage that there is no risk of frost or cold snaps, which are quick drops in temperature that often happen overnight. Make sure that the soil you are planting in isn’t frozen. The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests planting cabbage seedlings in soil that is 60-65°F (15.5-18.3°C).

If you plant cabbage in a climate that is too cold, your plants will not grow as efficiently as they would in optimal warmth. They will produce small, sparse heads and few leaves. Another risk of planting during cold weather is that planting in dank soil can encourage fungal disease.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on June 15, 2020.

Bugs and Pests Have Invaded

In a few places, particularly in rural areas of New England and Appalachia, you have to keep an eye out for wild creatures that want to make lunch out of your gardens. These creatures often find cabbage particularly delicious and easy to eat. Wild creatures are an issue that, fortunately, suburban and urban gardeners don’t have to deal with.

An issue that almost all farmers must deal with, however, is infestations of bugs. Since cabbage is a cruciferous plant that grows low to the ground, insects tend to enjoy eating it. There are even bugs that eat cabbage almost exclusively, the most common of them being the cabbage looper. Cabbage loopers are notorious for eating almost the entirety of heads of cabbage, leaving behind only the most fibrous veins and stems.

One of the easiest and most natural ways to get rid of cabbage loopers is to use a neem oil spray. Neem oil is an oil derived from an Indian tree that, along with being used for cosmetics and body care for hundreds of years, also has natural insecticide and antifungal properties.

There are plenty of pre-mixed sprays available on the market specifically formulated to use on plants. One that’s readily available on Amazon is Bonide Ready to Use Neem Oil. This video shows you how to use neem oil to get rid of those pesky loopers.

Final Thoughts

Cabbage plants are some of the most nutritious and well-yielding plants you can choose to grow in your garden. They are nutritious, filling, and budget-friendly. They are a helpful addition to any personal or commercial crop. However, sometimes you will come across issues with cabbage plant growth.

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on June 15, 2020.

Stunted cabbage growth can be caused by several natural factors. One of the most common issues with poor quality cabbage is that you’ve planted them in soil with bad nutrition. This can be solved with supplementation. Another issue is that cabbage plants often get planted too early or too late, which can be solved by planning your gardens more effectively. Finally, cabbage plants can be victims of plant infestations, and the best way to solve that is to use a natural pesticide.