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Many summer pest problems can be avoided with an ounce of springtime protection. Lightweight floating row covers, placed over young transplants as soon as you set them out, will keep out the flying insects that later turn into root maggots and cabbage worms - both of which bother brassica crops such as broccoli, cabbage and kale. The covers will let in plenty of light, air and water, but you'll need to pull them aside when you weed. Do this early in the morning when flying insects are the least active, to keep them from laying their eggs. By the time the plants are big enough to be constrained by the covers, they'll be mature enough to withstand a couple of little buggies and won't need the covers anyway.
Long Life for Cabbages
Next time you harvest cabbages, try leaving the stem and roots on before you put them in your root cellar, or other cool, moist storage area. They will keep better and you can produce a second crop from each stem. Pot up a stem, with the cabbage head removed, in a large pot of soil mix, feed and water, and wait for tasty young leaves to sprout all along the stem. Great for winter soups!

This Brassica darling dates back to 17th century France (chouxfleurs) and Italy (cauli-fiori). Low in fat and carbohydrates, its beautiful buxom heads are comprised of non-flowering compact curds that are high in Vitamin C, dietary fiber and anti-cancer goodness. It is best enjoyed raw, steamed, stir-fried or roasted for the best nutritional benefit (not boiled). We adore it in our father’s Cream of Cauliflower Soup and Cauliflower Risotto, our Roasted Vegetable Mélange and in low-carbohydrate Garlic mashed Cauliflower and Celeriac (a great alternate for figure-conscious potato lovers). Cauliflower is best grown as transplants, sown 6 weeks before setting out, 2 weeks prior to the last spring frost date, or in early summer for late fall harvest. It is a heavy feeder and should be grown in organically rich, neutral pH soil (6.5 to 6.8). When the heads are fully formed with tightly compacted curds, harvest with a sharp blade, cutting the head off at ground level. Average seed life: 3 years

#1505 Gonzales Baby Cabbage: 55 days
This is one heck of a perfect little cabbage, weighing in at one pound when 6” in diameter and ready to harvest. Another early baby, Gonzales yields attractive, uniform cabbages that look like lustrous, blue-green softballs. Its dense, firm heads resist splitting and have a particularly sweet flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture. It is also perfect for small-space, kitchen gardens: it may be planted 8” to 12” apart and enjoyed in every type of delectable cabbage recipe~fresh and raw in toothsome salads, steamed or baked. (F1.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.45

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#1515 Alcosa Baby Savoy Cabbge:62-65 days
Wrinkly, crinkly savoy is our pick for the prettiest of all cabbages. Alcosa features dusky-blue outer leaves, a 6” lime-green head and a buttery yellow interior. The mild and tender leaves are a nutritious alternative to head lettuce and are scrumptious braised in butter with a little fresh thyme. An early spring planting yields heads in just 65 days, so you can be making coleslaw by July 4th. Replant in midsummer for crunchy autumn salads with shredded apples and toasted walnuts. (F1.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.75

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#1530 Primero Red Cabbage: 72 days
The first of the red cabbages to mature, it is compact, dense and dark red with an unsurpassed, sweet taste and tender texture. Harvest Primero at two to four pounds, a perfect one-meal size for a small family. On a crisp fall day, use it in a sweet sauerkraut: sauté chopped onion in a bit of butter and set aside. Shred the cabbage and coarsely chop sweet, firm apples. Place in a large pot, cover with water and add a bit of cider vinegar and a whisker of sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer slowly for an hour or so until the cabbage is tender. Add the chopped onion and serve with roast pork. (OP.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.45

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#1532 Purple Savoy Cabbage: 61-65 days
New! This prized, early-heading Cabbage bestows us with dense, solid orbs that are as beautiful as they are deliciously sweet. Normally growing from 1- to 3-pounds, its blushed purple and pale green heads have artistic, intricately savoyed, crinkled leaves. A photographed star at farmer’s markets, it can get a big head, weighing in at up to 5 pounds. Long-lasting, it can serve as storage Cabbage too! (OP.)

Packet of 150 Seeds / $3.35

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#1535 Caraflex Pointed-Head Cabbage: 63 days
Easy to grow, this lovely little cone head weighs in at just 1 ½ to 2 pounds. A hands-down trial favorite, Caraflex holds well in the garden, has extra crunch and sweetness and stores up to 8 weeks after harvest. What more could you ask of a cabbage? Excellent raw in salads, cole slaw or as a crunchy sandwich surprise, its crisp, thin leaves cook in a flash for fast stir-fries. Caraflex is resistant to fungal Fusarium Yellows. (F1.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.95

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#1540 Beira Tronchuda Cabbage: 85 days
Aka Couve Tronchuda, Portuguese Kale or Sea Kale, it is a bright jade-green, loose-headed Cabbage with fleshy white mid-ribs and wide-spreading leaves. Sweeter and more tender than regular Cabbage, it may harvested as a whole plant or leaf-harvested to promote center re-growth with paler, milder, frilly leaves. Widely adaptable, Tronchuda tolerates heat spells and can be over-wintered in temperate climates. Traditionally enjoyed in Caldo Verde, the linguica-rich Portuguese soup, we also love roasting its most tender leaves into delicate chips after anointing them with olive oil, sea salt and pepper (remove the prominent mid-ribs). (F1.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.65

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#1545 Late Flat Dutch Storage Cabbage: 100-110 days
Introduced to America with the first European settlers, this classic heirloom has sustained families through eons of long, cold winters. Long-season Late Flat Dutch matures into smooth, oval, rock-hard heads up to 12” across and up to 15 pounds. The world’s premier storage cabbage, it keeps in the root cellar or crisper in the fridge for months. It is perfect for big-leafed stuffed rollups and making sauerkraut, kimchee, winter slaws, soups, stirfries and wedges of roasted goodness. (OP.)

Packet of 150 Seeds / $3.10

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