Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var capitata
Suitable Varieties: Commonly grown varieties include Oxylus, Super Cross, Santa, Tropica Cross.
Source of Planting Material: Reputable seed dealers.
Climatic Requirements: Cabbage thrives in moist climate. In Ghana, it can be grown anywhere, however, commercial production is done in Southern Ghana particularly Akwapim and Kwahu areas and in the moist high elevations around Tarkwa.
Site Selection: Cabbage can be grown in a variety of soils with high organic matter throughout the year under irrigation though it thrives best in deep well-drained loamy soils. Ensure a reliable source of water supply.
Land Preparation: Field must be thoroughly hoed or ploughed (30cm deep) and harrowed. Prepare ridges or planting beds where necessary on which seedlings may be transplanted. Incorporate well-decomposed manure.
Nursing: Seeds can be sown on seed beds, in seed trays or seed boxes. A 0.3 kg of seed is required to plant 1 ha of cabbage. Prepare seed beds at 1.2m wide and any convenient length and then level beds. Water the bed, cover with a 4cm thick layer of dry grass or sawdust and burn to sterilize the soil. Alternatively, solarize soil by covering soil with transparent plastic sheets for 5-8 weeks to sterilize the soil.
Sow seeds in drills 10cm apart. Cover beds with well dried non-seeded grass or palm fronds after sowing. After emergence, remove dry grass and provide shade over the bed. Thin out weak, malformed seedlings to avoid overcrowding. Prick out seedlings 6 to 7 days after emergence. Two weeks before planting out on the field, fertilize seedlings with NPK 15-15-15 liquid feed (Prepare solution by dissolving 5g NPK in every 1 litre of water). Apply directly to the soil. Harden seedlings 1 week before transplanting by gradually decreasing shade until at least 1 day full exposure to sunlight and/or by reducing irrigation. Control pests and diseases by applying recommended fungicides and erect insect nets over seedlings.
Transplanting: Transplant the seedlings 4 weeks after emergence on the field at 5-leaf stage in early morning or late afternoon. The planting distance for cabbage depends on the variety grown. Varieties which have larger heads require wider spacing. For most varieties a planting distance of 45 to 60cm between rows and 45 to 60cm within rows will be adequate. Apply recommended fungicides 24-48 hours before transplanting and irrigate immediately after transplanting.
Irrigation: Irrigation should be provided as often as possible especially in the dry season as poor irrigation scheduling results in poor yield. Ensure that adequate water reaches the root zone.
Fertilizer Application: Use soil analysis as a guide for fertilizer application. A general recommendation is to apply 40 to 50 tons/ha of decomposed farm yard manure, poultry manure or cow dung during ridging or bed preparation. At planting apply 15-15-15 NPK at 250kg to 400kg/ha (5g/plant). Two weeks after planting apply Sulphate of Ammonia at a rate of 80 to 100kg/ha (3g/plant) and repeat 6 weeks after planting.
Weed Control: Regular shallow hoeing (to prevent root destruction) should be done to control weed growth. Where manual weed control is difficult, pre-emergent herbicides may be applied prior to transplanting. Follow manufacturer’s recommendation.
Pest Control: The major pests found on cabbage include caterpillars, aphids, cabbage webworm, diamond back moth, mole cricket, snails and rodents. The insects can be controlled by the use of recommended pesticides. Remove outer leaves to prevent caterpillars from entering the head. Handpick snails and slugs and destroy them.
Root knot nematode: Treat soil with suitable or recommended nematicide before planting. Practice crop rotation.
Black rot (Xanthomonas campestris): This is a bacterial disease causing grayish blotches on the leaves. Control by practicing crop rotation with legumes and cereals. Ensure proper drainage of the beds and remove diseased plants and destroy them.
Damping off and Collar rot: The infected stem portion of seedling becomes discoloured and begins to shrink, resulting in loss of supportive strength, and the seedlings topple over and die. To prevent occurrence, treat seeds with approved fungicides before sowing. In the nursery remove affected seedlings and treat beds with approved fungicides to control spread.
Bacterial soft rot (Erwinia sp.): Attack stem, root and underside of the leaves which become grayish brown and collapse. Control by rotation with tolerant crops.
Harvesting: Heads can be harvested 7 to 8 weeks after planting and remains in crop for 2 to 3 weeks. Cabbage should be harvested when the heads are full and hard. When harvesting, bend the plant over to one side and cut above the outer leaves using a sharp knife. A few wrapper (outer) leaves should be left around the head. Care should be taken not to split the head.
Yield: Cabbage yields a head of 0.45 to 2.5kg by weight depending on the variety grown. Yields of 30 to 40 tons/ha can be obtained.
Post-harvest Handling: Trim off the outer leaves, sort out and grade by sizes. Pack in crates or boxes and keep under well-ventilated shade. Avoid throwing the heads into truck as poor post-harvest handling may lead to loss.
Market Specification: Cabbage must be hard, the head full and conveyed in appropriate containers.
Packaging: Cabbage can be packaged in containers such as cartons and crates.
Land rent 300.00
Land preparation 200.00
Total estimated cost 2519.00
Average fruit yield/ha = 40 tons
Percentage loss of 5%
Available yield for market
= 95/100×40,000kg = 38,000kg
Farm gate price per kilo = 20Gp
Income = 20Gp x 38000= Ghc7, 600.00
Net income = Ghc7,600-Ghc251
1 Hectare = 2.5 Acres
Note: This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.