Planting cabbage seedlings

  A few days ago, I finally planted my cabbage seedlings in one of our raised beds. Even though cabbage is considered a cool-season crop, a lot of my resources mention waiting a bit before planting them. Since I'd raised them from "seed-hood," I was only too happy to stall for fear a frost might wipe them out overnight!

This year, I'm growing two types of conical-shaped cabbage: 'New Jersey Wakefield' and 'Caraflex', the latter of which is a new variety and even more cool-looking than the former, which we've grown for the past 3 years.

I had 14 seedlings altogether which was perfect for my 3' x 8' bed. Cabbage plants tend to need a bit of space while they're growing so I didn't want to crowd them. Fortunately, these guys will be smaller than standard-sized cabbage heads.

Once the seedlings were in, I wanted to do something to protect them against slugs which can be an annoying, and devastating, problem. Late last year, I received a sample packet of a new organic slug repellent called "Slug Gone" wool pellets.

The pellets contain wool fibers which form a natural barrier around your plants. The fibers irritate the skin and the pellets  contain tiny fibers that can cut the slug's skin as well. I decided to give them a try.

I only had enough to surround about half of the plants so I surrounded the others with a ring of diatomaceous earth. That's a product I've used before. It's made from the fossilized remains of crustacea and, like Slug Gone, this flour-like substance has a lot of sharp points that irritate and/or cut through slugs' skin. You can find it at garden centers.

So this will give me a chance to compare the two and I'll let you know what I think as the season progresses.

The last thing I did was to cover the bed with a layer of tulle fabric (think bridal veils). This is to keep cabbage butterflies out since they lay eggs on the leaves and those hatch into green worms that make your cabbage leaves look like Swiss cheese.

Ordinarily, I'd use floating row cover but you can't see through the row cover and it can get warmer underneath it than something like the tulle. This way, I can see what's going on in there and let the plants enjoy a bit of air circulation since they don't care for hot temperatures. (click on the photo for a larger image)

Now it's time to watch and wait!