About the crop
Cabbages (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) is one of the oldest
vegetables grown in the world. The crop require cool moist weather for producing
best quality heads, and therefore its cultivation in the state is limited by climate
and is restricted to the cooler tracts in the high ranges of Idukki and Wayanad.
Climate & Soil
Cabbage grows well on a wide range of soils from light sand to heavier clays, but
well-drained sandy loam to clay loam soils are ideal for its best growth.
The optimum soil pH should be in the range 6.0–6.5. Good drainage is important,
and soils that become waterlogged after heavy rain or irrigation are unsuitable.
Propagation & Planting
September, Pusa Drum Head, Golden Acre, Kaveri, Ganga, Sri Ganesh and Pride of India.
Apply 25 t/ha FYM or compost. Fertilizer dose is N:P2O5:K2O
150:100:125 kg/ha. Apply full dose of P2O5 and half dose of
N and K2O before transplanting. Apply remaining half dose one month after
Irrigate immediately after transplanting of seedlings and subsequent irrigations
are given at an interval of 10-15 days depending upon the season and soil conditions.
Avoid water stress from formation to maturity of the head. Avoid excess irrigation
at crop maturity to prevent splitting of heads.
Two to three hand weedings and 1-2 very shallow hoeing should be done to remove
weeds and to make the soil better aerated. Application of pre-emergence weedicide
followed by a hand weeding 60 days after transplanting is also effective in checking
the weed population.
Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella)
The caterpillars feed on the leaf epidermis and later make holes in the leaves.
Severely affected leaves are completely skeletonised.
Control: Spraying malathion (0.1%)
and trap cropping with mustard controls the pest.
Leaf webber (Crocidolomia binotalis)
Caterpillars web up the leaves and live inside the knotted mass affecting flowering
and pod formation adversely.
Control: Removal and destruction
of webbed bunches of leaf and dusting the crop with carbaryl (4%) or spraying with
malathion (0.05%) is effective.
Cabbage borer (Hellula undalis)
The caterpillars mine the foliage, feed on the shoots and finally bore into the
stem; and the infested plants get killed or produce side shoots, which do not form
Control: Spraying the crop with
malathion (0.1%) or dusting 4% carbaryl gives good control of the larvae.
Cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae)
The larvae feed gregariously on the foliage and burrow into the heads, making it
unfit for marketing.
Control: The caterpillars should
be hand picked and destroyed. Spraying malathion (0.1%) or carbaryl (0.15%) gives
excellent control of the pest.
Aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae, Myzus persicae,
Nymphs and adults suck cell sap devitalizing the plants and the affected parts become
discoloured and malformed.
Control: Spraying of malathion (0.1%).
The insecticide application should be stopped 15-20 days before harvest.
Stalk rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)
This disease causes serious loss in the field, storage, under transit and market
conditions. The infections begin as circular water soaked areas, which become soft
and watery as the disease progresses, and damage the entire cabbage head.
Control: Avoid planting cabbage
and other susceptible crops in fields infested with white mold. Mechanical injuries
to cabbage heads during harvesting operations should be avoided.
Black rot (Xanthomonas campestris pv.
The infected tissue turns brown and dies, and severely affected leaves drop off.
The infected stems and roots become black. The heads of the infected plants remain
small and its quality is reduced making it unfit for consumption.
Control: Avoiding continuous cropping
of crucifers in the same field and use of resistant varieties offer good control.
Treat the seeds with agrimycin-100 (100ppm) or streptocycline (100ppm).
Downy mildew (Perenospora parasitica)
Small, light green-yellow lesions on the upper leaf surface, later a grayish white
moldy growth is developed on the undersurface of the leaf, and the leaf eventually
becomes papery and die. Cabbage heads develop sunken black spots.
Control: Removal of weeds and alternate
hosts and spraying with copper oxychloride (0.3%) are effective in controlling the
Leaf spot and blight (Alternaria brassicae
and A. brassiciola)
Small dark yellow spots appear on the leaf surface, which later enlarge to form
circular areas with concentric rings surrounded by yellow halos. In severe cases,
the entire plant defoliates.
Control: Use of disease free seeds,
practicing proper crop rotation and seed treatment with hot water (50° C for
30 minutes) helps to minimize the disease incidence.
Yellows or fusarium wilt (Fusarium
oxysporum f. sp conglutinans)
Initially the lower leaves and later the upper leaves turn yellow, wilt and die.
With time, the dead leaves turn brown and the affected tissue becomes dry and brittle.
Control: Use of resistant varieties
and very early sowing of cabbage can minimize the disease incidence.
Black leg (Phoma lingum)
Irregular spots develop on leaves and stem, which extend below the soil surface,
causing black rot of lower stem and roots. Severely affected plants remain stunted
and finally wilt, and under favourable condition the disease causes severe yield
Control: Use of disease free seeds
and hot water treatment of seeds is recommended to control the disease.
Club root (Plasmodiophora brassicae)
Roots of the infected plants develop club like swellings. Plants infected in the
nursery get killed, whereas those attacked at a later stage wilt in hot weather
but partly recover at night. Finally leaves become stunted, yellowish and prematurely
bolt in hot weather.
Control: Crop rotation of more than
6 years and mixing finely ground limestone before planting help to reduce disease
Damping off (Pythium debaryanum)
Seedlings develop lesion near the collar region and tissue beneath become soft due
to which seedling collapse and die.
Control: Seed treatment with Trichoderma
viride (3-4 g/kg of seed) or thiram (2-3 g/kg of seed) and soil drenching
with dithane M 45 (0.2%) or bavistin (0.1%) afford protection against the disease.
Cabbage is ready for harvest at 90-120 days after planting. Harvest the crop promptly
when the heads are firm and mature, as delayed harvest can result in split heads
and disease incidence. However, harvesting immature heads reduces yield, and they
have shorter shelf life than mature heads, as they are too soft to resist handling
damage. The heads are to be harvested by bending it to one side and cutting it with
a knife. Do not snap or twist the heads to remove them as this practice damages
the head and results in inconsistent stalk length. Broken stalks are also more susceptible
to decay. The stalk should be cut flat and as close to the head as possible, yet
long enough to retain two to four wrapper leaves. Extra leaves act as cushions during
handling and may be desired in certain markets. Since the heads do not attain maturity
uniformly, harvesting should be done in stages based on maturity. Average yield
of cabbage for early varieties is 25-30 t/ha and that of late type is 40-60 t/ha.
Place the cabbages on a rack made of wood or chicken wire, do not stack them on
the ground. Mature cabbages with a good firm heart, and in good condition,
can be stored in a cool, airy frost proof condition for several weeks.