Red Acre Cabbage is a gardening favorite, suited for beginner growers as well as those with more expertise! Cabbage is generally a low maintenance plant and very easy to store after autumn harvest. It is annual, and just like their paler green relatives, grow well in greenhouses and outdoors. Red Acre Cabbage will grow to a height of approximately 30 centimeters. Compact plants display spherical 2 - 4 lb. heads and have a great deal of disease resistance. These are a staple in butterfly gardens. As a Brassica vegetable, they possess great nutritive value, being rich in vitamin C and soluble fiber.
Red cabbages differs in their color due to the carotenoids contained within leaves, which create the dark red and purple color of this unique species. Carotenoids are phytochemicals known for their special anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Red cabbage pigments also vary according to the pH value of the soil. When grown within acidic soils the leaves appear more reddish, whereas in soils of neutral PH leaves display a purple hue. Within alkaline soils red acre cabbages will look greenish-yellow. Needless to say, Red acre cabbage is an excellent test of soil PH.
When cooked, red cabbage turns a blue color, so this cabbage is often eaten raw, to preserve the deep red and purple colors. Similar to its yellow counterpart, this cruciferous vegetable does well in slow-cooked recipes, but makes salads and wraps extra colorful! When cooking in soups however, it is common for the red pigment to turn lighter vegetables a pale blue, depending upon the amount of pigment present in leaves.
Sowing The Seed
Cabbage is a cool seasoned crop, which is well suited for the early Spring and early to late Autumn season. The seeds can be started indoors, or directly outdoors. If started indoors, sow in peat pots, 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost, at a depth of 1/4” under topsoil. Transplant into the garden, or direct sow outdoors, when the weather is slightly cool to warm. Check below for spacing and growth habits.
Cabbage plants, as explained above, will thrive in cooler temperatures. It is recommended to place them in an area of full sunlight, with temperatures averaging around 60F to 65F. The plants will need a soil that is rich in organic matter, but also well drained. If your sowing area is filled with hard, compact soil, we recommend adding in a light compost mix to improve drainage. Water the plants daily to ensure that the soil is kept moist until germination has occurred.
Germination & Growth
Cabbage seeds will typically take anywhere between 7 to 14 days to sprout open. The plants themselves will take up little garden space, and can be grown in rows. Each plant can be spaced about 18 to 24 inches apart from one another, in rows that are spaced about 24 to 30 inches apart. Fertilize when new leaves form, and when the heads begin to form. Harvest your Cabbage heads in roughly 90 to 100 days.