Cabbage farming is believed not to really work well in Nigeria. This notion though widely upheld is not totally true as some parts of the country like Plateau State and other states in northern Nigeria do grow this crop in large quantities.
In fact, in some parts of south-eastern Nigeria, cabbage thrives very well. It is possible, therefore, that this crop can be planted anywhere in the country.
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable which belongs to the Brassica family. The crop has multifarious usages: it can be eaten raw, used as a food/fruit salad, use as compost manure (i.e., the overdue leaves), used for the feeding of livestock, used as an additive for Suya etc.
Cabbage grows better in a cool, moist environment of about 55-60oF. The crop comes in various species, shapes, and sizes.
Cabbage Farming Process: A Step By Step Guide
Briefly, we shall be considering the Cabbage Farming Process. This is dissected into the kind of soil mostly used for cabbage farming, when to irrigate, how to handle pest and disease control, weeding period, as well as harvesting, and marketability period.
Land Preparation For Cabbage Planting
Cabbage works best on a sandy-loamy soil, although it can be grown on any type of soil. But the recommended one is the sandy-loamy soil. You have to rid weed s off the farm and remove stumps on the site/farm where you intend growing your crops. This comes first.
For mechanized farming, that is, a large farm, till the soil using a Tractor. Else, use a shovel to level the farm properly. Where the soil is very hard, a plow can be applied for about 3 times. When you want to plow the soil for the third time, animal dung should be applied to the soil in readiness for planting.
Mix equal amount of soil with the organic manure to be used for planting of the seedlings otherwise you may kill it or make them not to grow well.
Planting Of Cabbage
For cabbage planting, dig a hole of 2-3cm deep and insert 2 seeds inside and cover lightly. Nursery bags, sack bags, and surface rubbers can also be used in raising the seedlings. After 3-4 weeks, transplant the seedlings to the main field you are using for cabbage farming. By this time, they should be 14-16cm high and would have grown about 4-5 leaves.
45cm apart and the rows: 45-60cm apart. The spacing here also varies depending on the variety of cabbage you are planting.
Watering Of the Beds:
Before planting of cabbage, the beds should be watered vigorously. This is to ensure that there is enough moisture in the soil to establish (stabilize) the plants or hold them firmly.
The best time to transplant your cabbage seedlings is in the evening or when the weather is cool so as to prevent them from sun-scotch and shock from the heat.
Soil PH for the planting of cabbage is between 6.5 – 7.5. The Cabbage seeds planted takes about 5-17 days to germinate. This also depends on varieties planted.
Early cabbage planting takes between 50-70 days to mature. Mid-season cabbage planting takes 70-90 days to mature, while late season planting takes 90-125 days to mature.
Since cabbage requires a minimum of 3.8cm of water on a weekly basis, it should be irrigated (watering) daily. Drip irrigation system is greatly preferred.
Cabbage hardly supports heats. So, if you are not ready to irrigate it almost on a daily basis, then do not even bother to start cabbage farming business at all.
When the plants mature, you may stop watering them. During the raining season, selects days to water it depending on the amount of rainfall. But during the dry season, ensure that you water them daily, mostly in the morning and in the evening. Do not water your crops in the afternoon to avoid killing them.
Manure And Fertilizer Application
Cabbage, lettuce, garden egg, onions plants etc. are also called heavy feeders because they consume a great proportion of soil nutrients. For this reason, therefore, manure or fertilizer should be applied at every stage of their growth. Each of those stages has their own type of manure application and process. So, be careful while applying them.
First, fertilizer or manure should be applied heavily before planting. After transplanting your cabbage, apply the fertilizer or manure again and then repeat this when the crop starts bringing forth new leaves.
Finally, apply manure when the crops start growing out. This will help it until harvest time. For good plant formations, manure applied should contain lots of potassium.
Common Cabbage Pest and Diseases
Some of the pests and diseases that commonly attack cabbage include:
- Cabbage white
- Flea beetles
- Imported cabbage worms
- Fusarium yellows
- Black speck
- Fungal diseases that build in the soil
Harvest cabbage only when they are fully matured so as to stay longer in storage. Your cabbage will be ready in 2-5 months’ time. A hectare full of cabbage can yield 70-80 tons or more if all agronomic conditions are fully met and this also depends on the variety planted.
Generally, to harvest, use a knife to cut the head from the base of the plant and leave about 3 leaves which will help protect the head from bruises, abrasions or damage of any kind.
The remaining stem in the soil will continue developing while you keep on harvesting them just like in lettuce and waterleaf.
Before storing them, wash them very well to prevent insects/pest feeding on them.
Take note that cabbages which are yellowish in color stay longer in the storage bin as compared to the rest.
Go to the market and inform market men and women about your product. In fact, you should have done this even before the crops matured. Meet salad shops operators, supermarkets and shopping malls who are into foodstuff selling, hotels, restaurants and market your products to them.
Online advertisements in stores will get you more sales.