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How to grow and prepare cabbage

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Courtesy of Linda Weiss

(Read caption) Many years ago, a Japanese exchange student shared this recipe for Cabbage With Bell Pepper, Celery, and Onion with an
American family. It's still a favorite.

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Cabbage, because it grows best in cool weather, is one of those vegetables that will withstand frosts, says Anne, the gardener. You can put cabbage plants out in the garden in late summer or early fall. Depending on the variety, these plants should have cabbage heads to harvest in about two months.

To determine the exact time to plant, count backwards from your expected first frost, and then add a couple of weeks if you are not in a heavy freeze zone. This will tell you when you should plant cabbage in the garden.

The plants should be spaced about 15 inches apart. They should go in the ground no deeper than they are growing in their seedling pot.

Avoiding insects

In the spring, wrap the stem of each plant with a strip of newspaper extending it above and below ground. This will help to keep cutworms from finding and boring into the stems. These are not much of a problem on fall grown cabbage.

The best way to combat cabbageworms is to cover your plants with a floating row cover as soon as you have planted. This keeps the cabbage moth from laying her eggs on your plants. No eggs, no caterpillars/worms.

Make sure you fertilize with a good dose of nitrogen. Green vegetables need nitrogen to produce their leaves. If the fall rains are sparse, add water to keep the soil moist. Covering the ground with mulch will also keep the roots cool and moisture in the soil.

Harvest when the heads are firm when you squeeze them. (If they feel airy, they are not ready.) Cut them off at the soil level and try your fresh cabbage with chef Linda’s easy recipe, which follows.

Bibba’s steamed cabbage by way of Japan


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