22 common challenges in cabbage farming and how to prevent them
Cabbage farming is a lucrative agribusiness due to availability of ready market and high demand. However, for one to succeed in this activity, you need wide rage of information and knowledge on how to get healthy and productive vegetables.
Seemingly, cabbage plants might look easier to grow and care, but you will be surprised there are myriad of challenges you will encounter while growing these hardy cruciferous crops.
Having gathered and acquired necessary knowledge about the common challenges to encounter, will help in maximizing production as well as maintaining higher quality.
Below are some common challenges in cabbage farming that take away morale of most new farmers. I have encountered them myself and I can tell you for sure I nearly left growing these vegetables until found solution of how to go about it.
familiar challenges to face in cabbage farming
Head not forming
One of the most common challenge among most farmers is when cabbage grows with so many leaves but the head won’t form. This is a problem called bolting.
Bolting is basically a process where the plant forms a flower stalk instead of the head. Bolting is caused by extremely high temperatures in it’s growing surrounding.
Bolting occurs in such that when the environmental temperatures are too high the cabbage plants quickly produce flowers and seeds and thereby
abandoning formation of the head.
Since the head won’t form after bolting you can still harvest leaves which of course is not commercially productive.
How to prevent bolting
Cabbage requires moist soils at all times. Make sure to water your plants consistently and apply mulching to always keep the soils moist at all times.
Since high temperatures, cause heads not to form, for those who wish to grow cabbages in hot areas greenhouse solves this problem.
Purchasing good quality cabbage variety is another way to prevent bolting challenges. Avoid cheaper varieties and go for the hybrid ones.
If cabbage plants are fed too much nitrogen, they produce so many leaves and no head. Feed them with balanced nutrients fertilizers.
Black spots on the head
This problem is mostly associated with cold climatic conditions which sometimes kills cells in cabbages thus exhibiting black spots. The only way to avoid this challenge is not growing cabbages in those regions.
Cracking and splitting of heads
The main cause for this problem is too much watering and too much fertilizer application. Plants requires moderate irrigation.
Solution to this challenge is watering plants evenly and also keep them away from too much nitrogen.
While also you must remember to harvest cabbages once they reach maturity because if allowed to stay in the farm for too long, this problem might occur.
Leaf edges turning Brown
This challenge happen when plants fail to feed on nutrients available in the soil. It’s induced by low ph levels of 5 and below. Favourable ph levels required must be 6 and 7. Conducting soil testing alleviate such problems.
Additionally, you can add limestone to neutralize acidity levels.
Cabbage appearing purple in colour
Lack of necessary soil nutrients occasionally causes cabbages to start turning purplish in color. Most growers forget or ignore application of nutrients in the soil.
Before planting any plant in the farm it’s advisable to apply the necessary fertilizers that provide enough nutrients for fast growth and higher quality production.
Cabbage diseases and how to prevent them
The common signs that the plants are attacked by clubroot is yellow and wilted leaves.
There is only one proven way to prevent this disease and that is by keeping your farm free from insects and weeds. And also make sure to avoid planting where cabbage related vegetables(kale, collard and broccoli)were grown.
Black rot disease
Black rot disease is prevalent in cold and hot regions. The affected plants turn yellow in colour, drop their leaves and eventually die.
For better prevention practices, purchase and plant black rot tolerant varieties which are readily available in your local market.
Early signs of downy mildew disease are light green yellow spots appearing on the upper side of the leaves that later degenerates to lower parts. After some time they change into yellow.
Spray of copper oxychloride controls and prevents this deadly disease from spreading to other plants.
Leaf spot disease
Causes small dark yellow spots on the upper surface of the leaves.
Crop rotation is the best method to control leaf spot. Avoid planting cabbage plants all season through.
Fusarium wilt disease
Usually it affects seedlings while in nursery, though symptoms start manifesting after 2 to 4 weeks after transplantation.
Signs start showing yellow-green growth on some parts of the plant.
Planting treated and resistant varieties is the most significant method of control.
Cabbage pests and how to control them
It’s a caterpillar which cuts and damages cabbage plants. They are hatched by butterflies which lay their eggs below the leaves.
How to control cabbage worms
There is a natural and proven method of killing this pest. This is done by mixing two tablespoons of salt with water in about 5 liters of water and spray directly to them or on the leaves.
Salt is so effective as the worms die within hours after getting into contact with the salt solution.
Diamondblack mouth pest
They are one the most deadly pest against cabbage. These pests are green caterpillars that feed leaves epidermis and leaving holes.
How to control Diamondblack mouth pests
Spraying malathion pesticide eliminates and kills them within no time.
It’s also a dangerous pest that damages cabbage plant completely. These pests feed on leaves leaving too many holes.
The best pesticide to apply so as to kill them is malathion.
Other pests that attack cabbages are cabbage borer and aphides that are also controlled by spraying malathion.
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