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Cabbage transplants vs direct seedlings.

 
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Good morning friends. I direct seeded two different types of cabbage this year. What germinated is doing fine and having no issues. I started seventy plants with the intent of transplanting once they were of good size. Out of the ones I’ve already transferred to the garden none have survived more than a couple days. Something is eating them to the ground at night. I also have Chinese cabbage that has naturalized here and does it’s own thing without any issues at all. I was turned off to brassicas years ago but thought I’d try them again. This may be it if they don’t survive.
So a few questions...
1. Why are the direct seeded ones doing fine?
2. What can be done so the transplants survive?
3. What’s up with Chinese cabbage? The stuff is vigorous!
 
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My thought is that the transplants are weaker or stressed, compared to the direct seeded plants. This seems to make them much more appetizing to pests... Especially snails (in my experience). I've found that once they get established, they don't seem to be as vulnerable to the pests like they are after being planted in the ground.
 
Scott Stiller
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Thanks KC. That makes perfect sense but not something I thought about. The next time I plant some I’ll sprinkle some DE around them and see what happens. I think the ones I planted should have been a little bigger but they were long and fragile. I have some others that are like that but I make pot them in larger pots and wait it out! Thank you again.
 
Scott Stiller
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I’m also interested in growing several varieties of cabbage. If you have some thoughts on ones I could plant now and in Autumn your guidance is appreciated. I’m in zone 7b on the southern side of N.C.
 
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How are you hardening them off to the outdoors?  If they're long and fragile I'm guessing they aren't starting under enough light so they're getting leggy.

Going from indoor lights and no wind to outdoors with full sun and wind and bugs is a hell of an adjustment.  I try to "harden" mine off by putting them in dapple shade outside for a couple days and then half dapple half morning sun for a couple more and then mostly sunny with some protection for the sunniest hours and then into the garden.  That's what I try to do.  In reality I put them under an apple tree for a week and then plant them into the garden when the forecast says it will be cloudy for two days.
 
Scott Stiller
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Hey Mike. They have been completely grown on my porch. They have never been inside. They get a decent amount of morning sun but shade the rest of the day. I may try sitting some out in their containers to see if that helps things along.
 
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In my case the slugs kill little Brassica seedlings - not cabbage, but little turnips.

I was a bit impatient and overnight half of them disappeared or were severely chewed upon.
So for the next Brassica seedlings (Cime di rapa) I will wait until they are quite bigger.

The size and stability of older stems and leaves helps, some nibbling will be less severe than for a tiny plant.
Plus, as I wrote in another thread: Self-seeded veggies are not only the really hardy ones adapted for your garden, but they also camouflage better and don't stand out with their "I am the new kid here" smell.
 
Mike Haasl
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Yeah, if they're going right from morning sun into a full sun garden, that may be too much for them.  Unless you time it around some overcast weather.  There could be other things going on as well but that's where my brain is at.
 
Scott Stiller
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I wonder if my compost may be too rich? Nothing else seems to mind but could that be the cause of the cabbage being leggy? I mean look at that richness! I’m well versed in growing things but brassicas are a new thing for me.
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Steve Solomon swears that, in Cascadia at least, cabbage transplants are much more vulnerable to the cabbage root maggot, probably due to the transplant issues noted above. I have been pleased with his recommend technique of planting 3 or 4 seeds at the desired final spacing and progressively thinning to 1. My direct-seeded cabbages quickly catch and surpass the transplanted ones. That said, I do plant some very-early season transplants, and I use collars cut out of tuna cans, pop cans, tops of plastic nursery pots, etc, which helps keep the maggots away until the stems are stronger...
 
Scott Stiller
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I’m pretty sure I have come up with a solution. I’m never planting cabbage again. It’s been a few years so I thought my luck may have changed. It did not. I had beautiful plants direct seeded in early March. They all bolted.
 
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