BML
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Cabbage questions from a new gardener.

I have just started vegetable gardening and have some questions regarding Cabbages:

1. Is it possible to protect cabbages against caterpillars with a spray or dust?

2. I find something every now and then in gardening reading that refers to Club Root in Cabbage but it rarely goes into detail. One article said one should add Lime to acid soil but gave no precise detail but I wonder how much of it?

3. My soil is clay but is that acid or not and should one add lime to it?

4. If one adds lime how much should be added?

5. Should one dip the cabbage plant roots in lime before planting out?
6. Could anyone throw some light on the advice I have read that one should use a collar when planting cabbage plants. What is the point and what protection does it give?

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rainbowgardener
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You can dust with diatomaceous earth which is not a poison, but is very sharp on a microscopic level. Won't cut you, though it's probably not good to breathe in, but cuts up the caterpillars that crawl over it.

Don't know much about lime and club root, but clay soil can be acid or alkaline. They say clay soil is often acidic, but mine is very heavy clay and alkaline. You need to either get a tester or send a sample to be tested. And you should do that before you do any adding. You definitely would NOT want to be liming already alkaline soil.

The collar protects seedlings against cutworms. Without it, if you have cut worms, you could come out to find all your seedlings cut off just above ground level. It's not just cabbage, it's any little seedlings. Once the stems get bigger and stronger the cutworms can't bother them any more. They say you can accomplish the same thing just by putting toothpicks vertically into the ground on opposite sides of the stem, close to it but not quite touching. I haven't tried, because cutworms are not a problem I have to deal with.
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TWC015
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I use Bt to control caterpillars. It is available as a dust or liquid concentrate.

Are you having trouble growing cabbage? I did a quick google search on clubroot in brassicas and you can easily tell if your plants have this. If they wilt every day and are stunted, you just pull one up and it will have huge swelling on the roots. Google has pictures of it. Having a higher pH in the soil helps with clubroot, but it won't prevent it and the fungus lives in the soil for years with no host. You really do need to know the pH of the soil before liming; most vegetables like it slightly acidic and you will have nutrient problems much above 7.0. (The nutrients are still in the soil, but the plants can only use them in a certain range of pH.)

I also have clay based soil and the pH happens to be about perfect for growing vegetables. The pH of my soil is 6.4.

BML
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I have not had any trouble growing brassicas because this is the first time that I have tried but reading a little about it showed me that there may be some steps that I should take to aid my efforts so thank you very much.
I just checked the soil and although the tester is not a precise one the sample came up in the high levels of alkaline so no need for diatomaceous earth.
The collar seems worth using especially as I read that they can be made from a fleece and I’ve just looked up Bt to control caterpillars and it looks good.

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jal_ut
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I just checked the soil and although the tester is not a precise one the sample came up in the high levels of alkaline so no need for diatomaceous earth.
The diatomaceous earth is to get rid of the worms. It does nothing for the ph of the soil.
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CharlieBear
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You can cover the young plants with floating row covers and not have to put anything else on them. Leave the row cover on until harvest, lifting only if needed to water. That is the most organic thing to do. Since you have alkaline soil you can also dust the plant with sulfur like our ancesters used to to control the pests. However, I find it much easier to slip a section of toilet paper roll over the bottom of the transplant to make it hard for things to crawl up the plant and then cover with row covers. It will also help insulate a little in the fall, giving you a little more growing time.

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