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The ornamental cabbage is closely related to the kale. Most varieties of this colorful relative have been bred in Japan. Japanese people seem to have a special feeling for transforming the specifications of nature through human hands into small works of art. Every year there are new varieties in the trade. Ornamental cabbage can be easily grown with a little use. Those who sow in spring can enjoy colorful arrangements in pots, window boxes or borders towards the end of the year.
You can take your time for sowing. Only when it is safely frost-free, about mid-May, the seed is placed in the field. In a greenhouse or cold frame you can start earlier accordingly. The best germination temperature is 15 to 20° C. It then takes 10 to 20 days for the seedlings to emerge into the daylight. Until mid-July you can sow the ornamental cabbage. However, the later you start sowing, the less leaves and flowers the cabbage will later develop. The seeds are first placed in nutrient-poor soil, either in seed boxes or directly in the field. Then covered with soil, about twice the seed size. Now only with care, with the shower attachment, keep the seed always well wet until germination. If the seedlings have developed the first two correct leaves, is piqued. Before you give the individual plantlets in small pots, you can shorten the main root a little bit. This provokes the emergence of many lateral roots. Only when the plant has formed up to six leaves, it goes off to the field. All the while it is important that the young plants can catch enough light from all sides.
Between May and August, the plants are set outdoors. In the trade you can also buy early seedlings. The pikierten plants, or the purchased young plants, are then placed at a distance of about 25 cm to each other in nutrient-rich soil. When they reach a height of 20 cm, you start to remove the lower leaves from time to time. So get the long-stemmed ornamental cabbage varieties, the desired stem length.
Tip: Neighboring plants also play a role in ornamental cabbage. Good neighbors are, for example, legumes and nightshade plants. Rather not welcome in the neighborhood, among other cruciferous vegetables, leeks and strawberries.
Like all types of cabbage, ornamental cabbage is one of the heavyweights. Therefore, the soil is enriched before planting in the field with well rotted compost or manure. For the bucket a standard potting soil is sufficient. In the bucket, it is important to ensure a good drainage. Waterlogging does not like the ornamental cabbage. The ornamental cabbage is very clear with the following soil properties:
- humus, nutritious
- sandy-loamy, loamy, sandy-clayey, loamy-clayey
- slightly alkaline to slightly acidic
The ornamental cabbage reaches its peak only after its flowering in summer. Because only when the temperatures are below 15° C, later below 10° C, he develops his full color splendor. Until then, keep it up to date. It requires regular watering, but it is sensitive to waterlogging. Dry times he answers with withered leaves. In summer you can fertilize every 14 days. A nitrogen-stressed fertilizer promotes intense coloration of the leaves. As a rule, it is sufficient to mix the garden soil with well-rotted compost, in the summer, organic fertilizer, such as horn chips, horn meal or castor-toasted. For the ornamental cabbage in the bucket you can also use tomato fertilizer, it has the optimal nutrient composition. From August, fertilization is no longer needed. Too much nitrogen would now have a negative effect on leaf coloration. If you would like to benefit from the seeds after flowering in the spring, you must take care of adequate wintering of the ornamental cabbage. He does not tolerate temperatures below -8° C. Potted plants can be brought to a cool winter storage in frosty conditions. In the bed, covers can protect against hard frosts. In frost-free periods must also be poured.A well-cared ornamental cabbage can then flower and seed in the next year.
After the first light frosts in the late autumn or early winter can be harvested. The foliage is now beautifully colored. Anyone who has planted the ornamental cabbage can prepare it without hesitation in the kitchen. However, he loses his beautiful colors while cooking. The edible, raw jewelry leaves are also good as decoration for buffets, dishes and salad plates. The ornamental cabbage varieties with stem are perfect for winter floral arrangements.
Tip: If the cabbage is in the vase for some time, it may emit an unpleasant, foul-smelling odor. Here it helps to change the water in the vase frequently and to keep it clean.
Aphids are probably the most widespread pests that attack our crops. They also do not stop at the ornamental cabbage. Accordingly, the possibilities of the control measures are broad:
- cumshot with a sharp jet of water
- spray with: tobacco stock, nettle stock
- Predators: ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps
If only the bald eaten leaf ribs of the ornamental cabbage are visible, it is usually too late for control measures. The best, already with the frequent occurrence of the white moths in the summer, every now and then the underside of the leaves to search for the eggs. Then destroy these yellowish eggs immediately. If necessary, collect already hatched caterpillars.
The Kohlerdflöhe are not recognizable at first glance. Only on closer inspection do you recognize small, black beetles with laterally bright stripes, jumping around near the ground. On the leaves they leave many small holes. They like dry soil. A well-loosened, moist and weed-free soil can make the cabbage fleas uncomfortable. Effective chemical agents against cabbage fleas are not permitted for private use.
The cabbage hernia is a dangerous fungal disease. If infested, the plants wither and wither. The infestation itself can be recognized by nodular growths of the roots. Usually too late. A good precaution is the strict observance of the crop rotation. In case of infestation, wait another three years longer, until a renewed planting from the crucifer family. A warm, moist and rather acidic soil as well as stable manure fertilization favor the emergence of the Kohlhernie.
When the summer flowers bloom to an end, the hour of ornamental cabbage beats. Beautiful leaf shapes and colors then decorate the garden and terraces. In addition, it offers versatile use, from the vase to the pot. In order to be able to profit from the ornamental cabbage in culinary terms, organic cultivation is advisable. Commercially available cabbage plants are mostly chemically treated and are better to use only as ornamental plant.