Vegetables - Cabbage
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
We usually plant six or eight acres of cabbage of several varieties each year," says H. A. Souther-land of Ontario county, New York. " During the last five years we have found Burpee's All Head earlier and Burpee's Danish better than any we have ever tried. We have also grown All Seasons, but it gives poorer results than the ones mentioned. Cabbage does well on our clay loam soil, which is low-lying but well underdrained. Following the cabbage, come oats, wheat, and clover. The sod of the clover is turned tinder for corn, which in turn is followed by cabbage. The ground is plowed as early in the spring as possible, and again thoroughly cultivated up to the time of setting the plants. The rows are marked out 38 inches to feet apart and the plants set 24 inches asunder.
" For the last two seasons we have used a trans planter with good satisfaction; it cost $50. After the plants are set we use a two-horse cultivator and go through every few days until the rootlets get too thick in the middle of the row. The fertilizer we use costs $30 a ton. It contains 4 per cent ,nitrogen, 8 per cent phosphoric acid; and 7 per cent potash. It is applied just before the plants are set, at the rate of 400 to 500 pounds to the acre, with a grain drill fertilizer attachment. We have tried using double quantity fertilizer each side of the dead furrow, but find that we cannot get as good results in the dead furrow as elsewhere.
" Our crop last year ran about 15 tons to the acre. This is not a very good yield; the season was very dry during the summer. The prices usually ruled from $4 to $8 a ton last year. We cut the cabbage with a long-handled spud, putting four rows in one windrow, then we drive between two windrows, with a man on each side of the wagon. When 5,000 to 6,000 pounds is loaded, the wagon is hauled to the railway and the heads loaded on flat cars or in refrigerator cars. Usually the harvest is finished by November 1. We prefer to sell cabbage to the dealer who will take the ris of storing. Cracked and loose heads are fed to sheep in pasture in amounts just sufficient for them to eat up dean. Our seed is bought in early winter at about $2.5o a pound. We aim to buy early, as we think we are likely to get better seed. On about three-quarters of an acre one year we raised $223 worth of cabbage."
INTENSIVE CABBAGE GROWING
"A crop of cabbage," says C. G. Brown of Kent county, Delaware, " can be grown and harvested in 90 to Too days, admitting, therefore, of two crops in one year. This means intensive culture, heavy feeding, and, for the outlay, very profitable returns. For the first early, we grow Jersey Wakefield. Because of its hardiness, rapid growth and hard-heading habit, it is, in our experience, unequaled. For second early, we grow the large or Charleston Wakefield, Henderson's Early Summer and Early Dwarf Flat Dutch. The seed is sown for the first early in September in well-enriched beds and when the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall they are pricked out into cold frames, protected with oiled muslin or glass or in the open ground in a place protected from the north and west winds.
The objection to these wintered over plants is that, on account of age, many will go to seed. We prefer and have better success with spring plants. These are started in a hotbed under glass in February, and when 2 to 3 inches tall are pricked out into cold frames, and if not too thick in the seed-bed rows, will be ready to transplant in the field by March 15 to April 1, or later. These spring-grown plants will head up earlier and make more heads to the acre than wintered-over plants. The best soil is a good sandy loam that is well supplied with humus, from the growth of former crops of clover or other legumes a soil that is friable.
"This should be thoroughly pulverized and leveled to prepare it for planting. We use a potato planter, making the rows 3 feet apart, distribute the phosphate in the rows, and make the ridge for the plants at one operation. With the machine, we can do the work very cheaply and rapidly. The ridges are leveled down with a plank drag, which covers two rows at once 3 inches deep. The fertilizer is applied at the rate of 1,000 pounds to the acre, and is home-mixed, medium high grade, analyzing 4 per cent nitrogen, 7 per cent phosphoric acid, and 6 per cent potash. We want strong plants with good root system. They are set 18 inches apart in the 3-foot rows, taking about 10,000 to the acre.
" Cultivation is done early and thoroughly and continued until the cabbage begins to head. When the plants are ready to head and the soil freshly cultivated, we apply nitrate f soda, at the rate of zoo pounds to the acre on the row close to but not on the plants. One application of soda, costing $5, has increased the yield $40. When the soda is used the heading will be more general and rapid, and the heads more crisp and tender. Under conditions reasonably favorable, the yield will be from 7,000 to 9,000 marketable heads to an acre, making an average of 8,000.
"As fast as the cabbage is harvested, the stalks are cut and soon decay, and are out of the way of the second crop. The first, or early crop, is usually all marketed by the first of July. The land is then prepared for the second or late crop, as thoroughly and in the same way as for the first crop, again applying 1,000 pounds of fertilizer in the row and 200 pounds nitrate of soda as a top dressing. The plants for the late crop are grown very cheaply in the open ground, by sowing the seed in a well-prepared bed the last of May. The plants will be large enough to transplant to the field from July 1 to 15, putting them the same distance apart as for the early crop, requiring about 10,000 to the acre."
"Cabbages should be left in the field as long as possible, but it is better to harvest a week too early than a week too late," says Prof. Samuel Fraser of Livingston county, New York. " They must not be stored when wet nor handled when frozen. Cabbages bruised when frozen are invariably spoiled and will not store. Heads which have not quite reached maturity are the best for storage.
" A deep, double furrow should be plowed on a well-drained piece of land, and the cabbages be placed in it roots down. This will hold three rows of cabbages, two rows being laid on the sides, and the third between them. As fast as they are placed the roots are covered with soil by plowing furrow on each side. When the soil is frozen it is covered with litter or manure to prevent deep freezing.
"One of the simplest ways is to store in an or-chard or some sheltered place, often alongside a fence which has been made tight by a liberal use of straw. The cabbages are stored with their stems on, and are placed head down and as close together as possible. Two or three tiers are often made, the heads of the second tier being placed between the stems of the lower, and so on, the piles being made of any width and length desired. The whole is covered with leaves, salt hay, or straw, and a little soil, rails, brush, or litter.
" Small quantities may be stored by plowing out two or three furrows to or 12 inches deep, on a well-drained site, and placing the heads with their stems up, as close together as possible; some prefer to lay them but or 2 feet thick, while others will pile them up 2 to 2 1/2 feet high, bringing them to a point. The pile is then covered with straw, salt grass hay, or a thin layer of straw and then several inches of soil. They are stored before freezing, and when the soil covering them is frozen it may be covered with strawy manure or any other litter to keep the soil frozen until the cabbages are needed for sale.
Great quantities are stored in cabbage houses. The houses are often built alongside the railroad to facilitate shipment, but a small one can be built on the same principle if desired. The walls are frequently about 8 feet high at the eaves, built with three walls and two air spaces, papered on the out-side, with a close boarded and tar papered roof. The building may be 5o feet wide' and of any de-sired length, with a driveway through the center and well provided with ventilating arrangements. The building is divided into compartments or bins, which run across the house, from the driveway to the wall, one on each side. These are 5' feet wide, made of slats on 4-inch studding; this permits of a 4-inch air space all around each bin, the end near the outside wall included.
" When the bins are filled, the driveway may be filled if desired. The heads are cut close; practically ready for shipment, and are piled in the bins, from the floor to the ceiling. The filling is done in cold weather, if possible, and care is required in ventilating to keep the temperature of the building as near 30 to 35 degrees as possible, opening during cool nights, and keeping closed on warm days or when cold snaps occur.
" One or two carloads may be stored in the following manner: Select a dry site, excavate about one-half foot deep and 9 feet wide, and of the de-sired length. Set posts in each corner and every 4 or 5 feet along the side, letting them project about 4 feet above ground level. Board up the inside, 16-foot boards being useful. Set 2 x 4-inch rafters on the studding, and roof with wide boards, lapping them a little. Cover the apex of the roof with two boards, fastened together like an inverted V. Bank up the outside of the house, and in cold weather cover the roof with straw."