Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var capitata L.) is a reknown source of vitamins and mineral nutrients for human diets worldwide. In Uganda, cabbage is among the lucrative vegetable crops grown mainly by small-scale farmers for local consumption and for the growing urban markets.
Growing of cabbage
Cabbage plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day and are usually ready for harvest 45-105 days after planting, depending on the variety and climate. When growing Cabbage, it’s important to leave enough space between plants as they can get quite large. Some varieties of cabbage can produce heads weighing 15-20 pounds. Other varieties produce much smaller heads, weighing a couple of pounds each.
Cabbages need regular irrigation to ensure rapid growth and evenness of maturity. They can be irrigated by moveable spray lines, travelling irrigators or solid set if the soil is suitable and water available, flood irrigation. Cabbages grown in beds will require more irrigation than those grown on the flat. Soil type and weather will also influence the frequency of irrigation. The use of densitometers or other measuring equipment will improve yields and reduce water costs.
Benefits from cabbages
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, B6, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), fiber, manganese, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Challenges in growing cabbage
The following are the challenges the farmer may face in growing cabbage:
- They are attacked by pests and diseases and affected by moisture stress, and declining soil fertility.
- In adequate soil fertility management and knowledge of cabbage farming.
Cabbage varieties grown in Uganda include;
- Giant Drum Head
- Prize Drum Head
- Red Cabbage which is more resistant to most pests and diseases
Cabbages are sold by type, shape and colour of head rather than by individual variety. Green-coloured Cabbages are the most common, with Red Cabbages available.