Starting cabbage farming is a good idea. Cabbage farming is a gold mine, but unfortunately, many haven’t started tapping from it’s gold mine.
Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable from the BRASSICA OLERACEA family. It is the head that is mostly eaten while the leaves are either cut off and use for compost manure, in the feeding of animals etc. That is It is majorly grown or cultivated for the consumption of the stem or leaves. It is noticed that humans are mostly attracted to eating the stem, also known as head, while the leaves are used for several other purposes.
The leaves even though seldom consumed by some people are mostly given to herbivores (sheep, goats, cows, rabbits, etc.) as food or used to form compost manure, for those who have no need of these, they mostly just dispose the leaves, and, It grows well in a cool moist environment. The growing of cabbage began with the early Greek and Romans and has from there spread to the UK and other continents.
Cabbage farming is gradually becoming a major source of income in Nigeria as it has been as one of the most profitable forms of vegetables to cultivate. The crop has become increasingly popular because it is one of the major ingredients used in the preparation of salad which is one of the major meals consumed especially during festive seasons in the country.
It is mostly used in salad preparation, food decoration, vegetables for soup/pottage and can as well be eaten raw. It contains calcium which is very good for human health. Cabbage is known to contain a healthy amount of calcium which is very important in humans for the development of strong bones and teeth, they are also very helpful in the development of snails.
Cabbage farming is not very popular in Nigeria because of the belief that it will not do well except in a place like Plateau State. A good reason for the low involvement of people in cabbage farming is the idea that the weather of most cities in Nigeria will prevent the crop from growing well, thereby causing the farmer to more loss than gain.
In recent times however, a group of resilient farmers rising up all around the country have worked to prove this notion wrong by successfully involving in cabbage farming. Farmers in both the South-West and South-East have carried out experimental programs, seeking the best way to cultivate cabbage for optimal yield and their efforts have proven that indeed cabbage can be planted anywhere in the country without the fear of poor yield, as long as proper farming practices are followed.
Steps to consider in starting cabbage farming
To start cabbage farming, here are the criteria to be followed in starting the business:
- Land cultivation
- Planting of cabbage
- application of fertilizer
- control of pests and diseases
Land cultivation for Cabbage farming:
Before planting ensure you choose a piece of land which is sandy-loam in nature and which is well enriched with organic content. Cabbage can grow on any soil. Sandy-loam however brings about a better yield in the crop so it is most preferable. Once the choice of land has been made and acquired, the next step is to ensure that the land is properly cleared of all weeds and shrubs.
Then, one can decide to fumigate the land with pesticides to ward off any forms of pests. After, ploughing the land to loosen the top soil, this operation can be carried out with a shovel or hoe if it is a small land. If the land is quite large, a tractor and plough might be needed, and depending on the hardness of the soil, the land can be ploughed once to thrice.
On the final stage of ploughing, some animal or inorganic manure may be added to the soil simultaneously, this will help prepare the soil for planting. Finally preparation of seed beds for the planting of the cabbage, while doing this, manure can be added as well.
Planting the crop:
planting when the weather is most favorable for the crop to yield well should be the prime focus. Since the crop thrives in cool and moist weather, then it becomes evident that the best weather for this in Nigeria will be the rainy season. Digging a hole deep and insert 2 seeds inside and cover lightly. Making use of nursery bags, sack bags and surface rubbers in raising the seedlings.
Transplant the seedlings to the main field you are using for cabbage farming after 3-4 weeks. They should be 14-16cm high at this time or when they show 4-5 leaves. There should be spacing in-between them and their spacing also depends on the type of variety that is being planted. Early cabbage takes 50-70 days, mid-season cabbage takes 70-90 days while late season takes 90-125 days.
Before planting the crops, the beds should be watered vigorously to ensure that there is enough moisture in the soil to establish the plant. Transplant the seedlings in the evening or when the weather is cold in other to prevent them from scorching from the sun, and shock from the heat.
The season which the cabbage is planted matters a lot. constant irrigation of the farm area might be required. History reveals that for optimal production, cabbage plants need a minimum of about 3.8cm of water weekly. The best form of irrigation for the farming of cabbage is drip irrigation. You should know that cabbage can hardly withstand a drought. It is very important that provisions of enough water for the plant is made when there is a shortage of rainfall.
Application of fertilizer:
When preparing the seed beds before planting, enough manure should be added to the soil, also, after transplanting, manure should be added. One should ensure this is done recurrently over the different development stages of the crop. Towards the later development stage of this vegetable, once they start to develop heads, the kind of manure required is one which is rich in potassium.
This helps to keep the leaves in color as well as help the stems develop properly. Cabbage consumes a lot of nutrients during maturing stages, so, it is important that one constantly refresh the nutrient content of the soil by carefully applying manure or fertilizer at each stage of the development of the cabbage plant.
Control of pests and diseases:
A major issue that affects cabbage farms is Splitting. This could occur after a heavy down pour or when irrigation is done immediately after serious stress from drought. To solve the situation, it is advised to cut some of the roots from one side of the plant into the soil from the base of the plant using a spade.
Another major cause of splitting is poor spacing of the plants, to avoid this it is advised to follow the spacing specifications. The most common pests that affect cabbage are: cabbage white, flea beetles, maggots, imported cabbage worms, loopers etc. While the most common diseases that affect cabbage are Fusarium yellows, club root, black speck, rot; fungal disease that builds in the soil.
cabbage is harvested once it reaches the full maturity stage to ensure that it stays long in storage. Its maturation period is between two and five months, depending on the variety planted.
Harvesting should be done when the heads are fully matured and firm, or when the heads are closed and the leaves are wrapped around them and in good shape. One is advised to use a knife to cut the head from the base of the plant, leaving about 3 leaves that will act as protection for the head from bruises or abrasions of any kind. After harvesting make sure to wash the cabbage and inspect to remove any insects before storing them.
After harvesting, store them in a cold place, it can last for about 3 months in storage. One can also wrap the half use ones properly in a polyethylene bag put it in the fridge and it will last for about 2 weeks or more.
There is a ready market for cabbage. Locating market men and women and selling to them.
Letting people around know that there is cabbage enough for sale and they will come down on their own to buy. Also, by Selling to salad shops, supermarkets and shopping malls that are into foodstuff selling, hotels, restaurants etc. And also making online adverts for it on agriculture and food sites. Like ofarms.ng.