Early cabbage, how big??!

navyavi469May 5, 2010

I planted my so-called "45-day" cabbage 50 days ago. The heads are only 3" in diameter. The variety is called "Golden Cross" From bonnie and they claim to yield a 1.5-2.0 lb head. So basically I have something the size of a baseball that should be the size of a bloated softball at 50 days. I'm getting scared to leave them on the plant as the temperatures are heating up here in Florida FAST! Its more than 80 degrees out during the day and humid... the bugs are getting prolific and my cabbage leaves are getting muched-on. Its too late to spray with pesticides as the heads are almost edible. What to do??!

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1. 99% of the time it is cabbage worms munching on your cabbage. Use Bt (Dipel in dust form, Thuricide for spray) It is harmless to everything but caterpillars.
2. I have not grown Golden Cross, but it is touted as the earliest maturing cabbage. It is supposed to be small but not midget. Cabbage are heavy feeders so it may be they are a bit short of nutrients especially nitrogen. They do take longer in short daylight. That 40 -45 day DTM must have determined in a northern long daylight climate.
The earliest that have grown is Point One which is listed at 48 days but took almost 60 here.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 5:46PM
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Thanks farmerdilla. The holes in my cabbage leaves look exactly like the ones in the picture you posted. Is this the infamous cabbage worms I"m hearing about? I put carbyl out underneath the leaves and around the raised bed, but not on the head itself, hoping that whatever is getting to it, runs across the dust first. Also hit the head with some organic neem oil.. seems to be a mild cure-all for other curses, I'm notice some very mild discoloration on the tops of the heads on the outermost leaf.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 8:05PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What, how much, and how often have you fed them? As mentioned, they are heavy nitrogen feeders and regular supplemental feedings during their growth season is usually needed.

The holes in the leaves are cabbage loopers, not cabbage worms (different pest/different damage) and you'll find info on them under that name. Bt dust or spray on the heads themselves is the pesticide of choice - that or row covers. Sevin (carbyl) doesn't affect them as the eggs are laid on the leaves, not in the bed and it must be ingested to kill them. Neem oil is a repellant, it doesn't kill them either unless you happen to spray it right on the looper.

Look for Dipel or Thuricide (the liquid form) and I strongly suggest a feeding but do keep in mind that DTM is just a very loose guideline, not something to be "counted".


    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 8:31PM
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I have grown several early cabbages, and they all needed more time than it said on the package. Alcosa mini savoy started indoors in March and set out in April are ready in June, probably 70 days from transplant.

The heads get bigger the longer you let cabbage plants stay in the garden. Wait until nights are no longer cool if you can.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 8:36PM
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Navi; I have mostly cabbage worms. This is the larva of a white butterfly known as the cabbage white. They will decimate any brassica. The cats are eaily recognized, fat green caterpillar up to an inch in lenght, very sluggist.

Once in a while I will encounter the cabbage looper, the larva of a night flying moth. These are skinny caterpillars, pretty mobile, move by pulling rear to the fron t end forming a loop, then stretching out the head. As kids we called this type measuring or inch worms.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:25PM
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Yesterday I killed (3) 1-inch longer hairy caterpillers (black with white hair) around my garden area. Haven't seen the actual culprit that munches on the cabbage yet, but I'm thinking that my Carbyl application isn't going to do the trick and I will need yet another trip to the garden store to get some Bt.

I worked a LOT of compost into the soil before planting; I figured with such a short grow-time, why bother re-fertilizing. They've gotten two shots of smurf manure to date, so that should be more than sufficient for now.

Will keep the plants in the garden until the heads are big enough for my satisfaction and hope nothing gets to them in the interim; thanks for all the great advice.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Update.... went out this morning and the little #@$!*'s were on top of the heads almost dead. The liquid carbyl spray I put out last night apparently didn't taste too good. I saw what was either poop or brown eggs on top of some of the heads, and found two 1/2" long green cabbage worms. I'm headed to the store now to pick up some Bt. I hope its not too late for the heads. I dont see much direct damage to the edible parts, just the leaves surrounding the heads. Do these guys get "inside" the heads and stay there? I hope when I cut into this thing I dont have a big green worm crawl out.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:28AM
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AFter further review, they are not cabbage worms, they are cabbage loopers. Tiny little green things. Too bad for them, my heads are now covered with Dipil Dust. So long suckers!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 2:48PM
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