Toxic1979
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How does Cabbage form a head?

This may sound funny, and maybe even weird, but I was wondering how cabbage actually forms a head? Really this is my first year trying to grow them from seed, and I have quite a few. Most were short season, and a few were long season. Im seeing the difference, as the short seasons are all forming heads. Long seasons are not yet.

It seems to me that the inner most leaves curled inward to start forming the head, once the plants reached a certain size. I thought that maybe the remainder of the outer leaves would keep curling inward to help for the head. Then grow more outer leaves and keep folding inward. BUT... I'm noticing this not whats happening. The heads are getting much bigger, but it seems as though they are growing outward from the centre of the head. Is this how the heads get bigger?

I'm using the slug tagged/ chewed outer-most leaves as a marker, and noticing that they are not folding inward to help form the heads. I also know a lot of people use the large outer leaves for cabbage rolls, which I can't wait to do (with the leaves the slugs did not destroy).

...stop laughing! lol

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applestar
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Re: How does Cabbage form a head?

I'm not laughing -- I never really thought about it. But you are right the outer leaves do not curl.

So it must be that the head is formed by additional inner leaves -- maybe more and more rapidly growing inside those first leaves to start curving inward leaves that form a boundary. For a while the boundary leaves continue to grow, increasing the ultimate diameter, then stop. As the increasing inner leaves get pressed tighter and tighter against the non-yielding curled boundary leaves, the "head" becomes firmer until it is hard enough to be considered ready for harvest.
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digitS'
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Re: How does Cabbage form a head?

The inner leaves fail to turn outward.

Leaf development becomes too rapid in the short-stem plant for the leaves to expand and become exposed to the sun. Blanching isn't to the plant's advantage. Photosynthesis does not occur within those inner leaves. The short stem but rapid leaf generation was a human decision as an advancement in a vegetable. Or, at least, some humans ;).

I have grown Portuguese kale for several years. There is very little difference between Portuguese kale and cabbage. The blanched head is not formed in the kale.

Steve
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For the Other, too 'tis You! ~ Peter Rosegger

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applestar
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Re: How does Cabbage form a head?

AH! I see the distinction, digit'S :idea:

I have to try Portuguese kale. I've heard you extol them before. 8)
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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