This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The stems of this variety have the peculiar property of swelling out laterally, and forming somewhat the shape of a turnip. All parts of the plant are good as food, excepting the underground roots. It answers the double capacity of turnip and borecole, and ought to be more generally cultivated. Treated as the above - only planted some sixteen inches closer - it will be serviceable at the same time.
All the Cabbage tribe will do tolerably well in almost any kind of soil, but are more profitable, and of much better quality, when liberally supplied with fertilizing material. A fresh and somewhat strong, turfy loam, deeply worked, and well drained, with plenty of barnyard manure, or the next best substitute, decayed leaves or swamp muck mixed with guano, will invariably bring the greatest profits, and give the most satisfaction. When well cared for, there is no crop that pays better for the market gardener, while, on the contrary, there is only a meagre return. So much is the difference, in this respect, that one person will realize over five hundred dollars to the acre, while another will not get more than fifty.
Those kinds which are advised to be sown'in September for the first early crop, will require protection in winter. This may be accomplished by pricking out the young plants four inches apart, in a cold frame with glass sashes, or a framing of boards and shutters. Whichever may be used, be careful to give abundance of air at all favorable opportunities, but keep close, and in the dark, at all times when the frost is very intense, and the atmosphere bright and clear. The sun's rays striking immediately upon the frosted plants, causes sadden thaw, and often kills them. When the fall sowing has not been attended to, the seed may be sown early in February, on a slight hotbed, and treated as recommended for cauliflowers in a former article, which see.
The insect which'infests the Cabbage, is the fly - a minute beetle, that jumps like a flea. It attacks the plants in the seed leaf, and continues its ravages until they attain a considerable size. In hot and dry weather, in the summer time, it is most abundant and destructive, but does little harm during the cool season, or when rain is abundant. The best preventive which I have found out, is a dusting of caustic lime, wood ashes, or a light sprinkling of guano, when the dew is on the leaves. In some poor or long-worked soil, the roots and tops become infested with a glaucous, green Aphis, which congregates together very numerously. This may be prevented, at the roots, by dipping them in powdered lime before being planted; and a dusting of the same over the leaves will soon banish them above ground. There is also an ashy-gray caterpillar (the beet worm of the Cabbage), that eats through the stems immediately below the surface, and which will some-times ruin a whole stock of plants when in the most promising condition.
In some localities, this is the most formidable pest with which we have to contend, as it works out of sight, and can travel sufficiently nnder ground to be unper-ceived. When the plants begin to wilt under the influence of light, examine the base, and it will soon be verified, if the injury is from this canse. If so, where it is applicable, give a good soaking of strong lime-water around the base of each, and where the plot is too large for this method, drop a little lime around the plant, before rain, if possible, that the caustic properties may wash down; for, it is only in such state that it will do any good. The most effectual plan, however, is to apply a liberal dressing of lime when the ground is being worked, which will destroy not only the eggs of this, but of many other insects, if they be deposited there. Few people seem to be aware of the good effects of lime, applied in this way, for ridding the ground of insects; but remember that it should be turned in immediately after being spread, or it soon becomes neutralized, and of noser-vice for this purpose.