This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Those growers who deem it wise to grow as large a variety of crops as possible will not neglect this pickling vegetable. It has the disadvantage of being liable to "club", like the other members of the Cruciferae, and should not be grown without taking precautions against this pest (see Vol. I, p. 209). Some raise their plants by sowing in the autumn, but inasmuch as few want to start pickling until the season of jam-making is quite over, it will be found that March sowings will be early enough, besides giving less trouble. The plants should be put out 2 ft. 6 in. by 18 in. on well-manured land. Red Cabbages, marketed in good condition, make from 1s. 3d. to 1s. 9d. per dozen. [w. g. l].
The Cabbage is an important crop in the Vale of Evesham, and practically an unvarying one. It is also a most striking one in the months of February, March, and April; after which few Cabbage are to be seen in the district. Myatt's "Early Offenham" is almost exclusively grown. To see hundreds of acres of this Cabbage, just before cutting commences at the end of February or early in March, is a striking experience, especially when annually repeated during many years. It says much for the quality of the strain in the first instance and for the care exercised to preserve its purity through two generations. Other varieties have been tried, but they have had to yield to the superiority of "Early Offenham" for commercial purposes. The writer has tested all the best-known varieties against it, but none have equalled it for all good qualities.
Seed is usually sown broadcast in large beds during the first half of July, immediately after rain or immediately after the seed bed has been specially and well soaked with water for the reception of the seed. The question of a moist seed bed is all-important with regard to the " bolting" of Cabbage, as well as many other things.
At Mr. J. W. Cross's Farm, Wisbech.
Photo. C. W. Rutter.
Cabbages usually follow early Peas or Radishes or Marrows. They are planted at the end of August and through September, thus becoming thoroughly established and well advanced before the winter, which is very important in the cultivation of early Cabbage. As the cabbages are cut when the "hearts" are a nice size but not fully grown, the plants do not require so much space; therefore they are planted more closely together than they would be planted for summer or autumn use; in fact, about double the number are planted per acre. Usually these Cabbages are planted in rows 14 or 15 in. apart and 12 in. apart in the rows. The earliest are planted on warm borders and in other warm and sheltered places. They are carefully hoed in autumn and again in February, when they receive their dressings with fertilizer to hasten their growth. Fish guano, nitrate of soda, or a combination of nitrate, kainit, and superphosphate (mixed and applied immediately) are used, the last-named mixture giving a splendid colour and flavour to the cabbage. After April it seldom pays to send cabbage to market; but the earliest cabbages usually realize 3s. to 5s. per "pot" or bushel, therefore all efforts are directed to the early development of the crop. [J. U].