Ruby Ball Cabbage
78 days. Over the years, we have tested hundreds of cabbage varieties at our London Springs research farm, and Ruby Ball remains a great all season, red cabbage. Firm, 6-8 inch round heads have a mild, sweet flavor and weigh a manageable 3-4 pounds. We have seen Ruby Ball stand unfazed in the garden for 6 weeks without splitting, which allows the gardener extended fresh harvests. Ruby Ball stores moderately well after harvest. Japanese seed.
Winter Growing Information
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|Seed Depth||Seed Spacing||Soil Temp for Germ.||Days to Germ.||Thin Plants To||Approximately 55-115 seeds per 1/2 gram.|
Brassica oleracea, Capitata Group Cabbage holds the esteemed position of the vegetable that contains the least amount of fat per serving. As an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidant phytonutrients, cabbage is a great defender against cancer. Red cabbage is rich in anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
CULTURE: Cabbage is a hardy cool-season crop that does best under cool, moist conditions. It can be direct sown or grown as a transplant. Sow early-maturing cabbage from March through June. Sow later autumn-maturing types from late May to early July. This allows the heads to form during the relative cool of the fall. Soil crusting from uneven watering can lead to poor or sporadic germination. For direct planting, sow seeds in rows 2-4 feet apart. When transplanting, set at the same final spacing as direct sown. Younger seedlings, 6-8 weeks old, with 5-6 true leaves are better able to tolerate adverse weather conditions. Sudden temperature changes or high applications of fertilizer at transplanting may result in poor head shape and reduced yields from non-headers. The preferred soil pH is 6.5, and 1-1 1/2 inches of water per week is required for uninterrupted growth. Fertility requirements for cabbages are relatively high. One-half cup of our complete fertilizer worked into the soil around each plant will provide the nutrition necessary for best production.
INSECTS: See Brassica Insect Information below.
DISEASE: The home gardener can help prevent viral and fungal diseases by practicing long crop rotations, using sterile starting mixes if transplanting, and practicing general sanitation procedures.
HARVEST: Early types mature fast and burst quickly, so they must be harvested promptly. Later types, maturing in late summer or autumn when growth rates are slow, will hold in the field for much longer, often several months. When cutting the heads from the stems, include 2 or 3 wrapper leaves to protect against bruising. Over-mature heads are subject to splitting, especially if they are exposed to moisture fluctuations. Successful storage starts with a good cultivar, free of diseases or injuries. Late storage types will keep for up to 6 months when kept at 32°F and at 98-100% relative humidity; early types will store for 1-2 months.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 75%. Days to maturity are calculated from date of transplant. Add 25-35 days if direct seeding. Usual seed life: 3 years.
Brassica Insect Information
Aphids: Control aphids with a hard spray of water, Hot Pepper Wax, Insect Killing Soap, or Pyrethrin. Also, select varieties that mature later in the season when aphid populations decline.
Cabbage worms, loopers, and root maggots: The first sign of cabbage worms will be white diamond-back moths fluttering near the plants. They lay eggs in the soil, which hatch into worms that can cause severe root and head damage. To control light infestations, spray plants with Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). For heavy infestations, bait cabbage worms by mixing wheat bran into a BT solution. Add 1 tablespoon of molasses. Broadcast the bran mixture around the base of plants. Reapply as necessary. Using Reemay or Grow Guard 20 can also provide control.
Flea beetles: Flea beetles chew tiny pinholes in leaves. Early control is essential to minimize the damage. Spray young plants with Pyrethrin every 2 days. Using floating row covers such as Summer Insect Barrier can also provide control.
Symphylans: In some areas of the US, symphylans (also known as garden centipede) can severely retard the plant growth of cole crops. Only 1/4 inch long, white, and very active, they eat the root hairs of developing plants. Contact your local county extension agent if you suspect you have a problem.