In this article we shall be looking at the kind of soil good for cabbage farming in Ghana, when to irrigate, pest and disease control, weeding, harvesting and marketability.
THE TECHNIQUES TO USE ARE:
Chose sandy-loam soil rich in organic matter Plant when the weather is favourable mostly during raining season.
First of all plant them in a nursery before transferring to the main field.
Use a very good variety as this can make or mar your success
At best plant hybrid cabbage for better yield, quick maturity and disease/pest resistance.
Apply fertilizer at every stage of their development, organic manure is preferable.
Harvest early to avoid yellowing or botching of the leaves
Cabbage can be grow on any soil but a well compost sandy-loam is preferable for their utmost performance.
Get a land and clear it from every weed and shrub that are not needed.
Use tractor to loosen the land (for a large farm, otherwise shovel can be used on a small farm) if the soil is very hard it can be ploughed for about 3 times during the third ploughing animal dung should be added to the soil in readiness for planting.
Prepare bed for the seedlings by missing equal amount of soil with the organic manure to be used.
Dig a hole of 2-3cm deep and insert 2 seeds inside and cover lightly.
You can use nursery bags, sack bags and surface rubbers in raising the seedlings.
Transplant the seedlings to the main field you are using for cabbage farming after 3-4 weeks.
They should be 14-16cm high at this time or when they show 4-5 leaves.
The spacing should be 45cm apart and the rows 45-60cm apart.
Their spacing also depends on the type of variety you are planting.
Early cabbage takes 50-70 days, mid-season cabbage takes 70-90 days while late season takes 90-125 days.
Prior to when you should plant the crop, water the beds vigorously to ensure that, there is enough moisture in the soil to establish the plant.
Transplant the seedlings in the evening or when the weather is cold in other to prevent them from scotch and shock from the heat.
The soil P.H should be between 6.5-7.5.
Cabbage seed takes about 5-17 days to germinate, the germination days varies for different varieties.
IRRIGATION/MULCHING IN CABBAGE FARMING:
Irrigation should be done on a regular basis as cabbage requires a minimum of 3.8cm of water on a weekly basis. Drip irrigation is highly recommended.
Cabbage cannot withstand drought so if you cannot water the farm especially during shortage of rain. Or during dry season don’t bother starting cabbage farming at all.
During the time of intense heat water them morning and evening every day.
But you can select days to water them during raining season except it rains every day.
When the plants are matured you stop watering in other to prevent botching.
Use compost to mulch the farm in other to keep the soil moist and to avoid excessive loss of water.
It will also help in weed control and in the addition of nutrients to the soil.
Cabbage plants are heavy feeders just like garden egg and onions as such manure should be applied at every stage of their development while being careful on the kind of manure to apply in those stages.
The first manure you applied during soil preparation should be heavy (plenty).
After 3 weeks of transplanting you apply and also apply again when the start bringing out new leaves.
Finally apply manure when the start developing heads so that they can form well such that will carry them until harvest.
The manure to apply at this time should have more of potassium because they are good in plant formations.
PESTS/DISEASES OF CABBAGE
The commonest pesticides are cabbage white, flea beetles, maggots, imported cabbage worms, loopers etc.
While the commonest diseases are Fusarium yellows, club root, black speck, rot; fungal disease that builds in the soil.
SOLUTION; Plant resistant variety and practice crop rotation.
Splitting; this can occur after heavy down pour or when irrigation is done immediately after serious stress from drought.
To salvage the situation cut some of the roots from one side about 25cm into the soil from the base of the plant using a spade.
Another reason for splitting is when they are overcrowded, so by all means give good spacing to the plant.
We have the early season varieties, mid-season varieties and the late season varieties.
Most importantly are the hybrid varieties such as Thai cabbage, F1 cabbage from Technism etc.
They can be harvested in a shorter time some 2 months or so, can withstand harsh conditions and can resist some diseases like the Fusarium etc.
Cabbage is harvested when they are fully matured in other to stay longer in storage.
They are not like pepper, eggplant and tomatoes that can be harvested before fully attaining formation.
It is ready for harvest in about 2-5 months.
The yield will depend on variety but a hectare can yield 70-80 tonnes or more if all agronomic conditions are fully applied.
Harvest them when the heads are fully matured and firm. Or when the heads are closed up and the leaves wrapped around them are still in good shape.
You can press the fruit with your hands to know if it is strong; a loose and soft head is yet to mature.
If you allow the leaves to become yellowish or blotch it can’t stay long in the storage.
Use knife to cut the head from the base of the plant and leave about 3 leaves that 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.
Wash them after harvest in other to remove insects and dirt before putting them away for storage.
Locate market men and women and sell to them.
Let people around you know that you are into cabbage farming and you will see them coming down on their own to buy.
Sell to salad shops, supermarkets and shopping malls that are into foodstuff selling, hotels, restaurants etc.
Advertise in online stores for more sales.