March 07, 2014
CABBAGES (Brassica olereceae var capitata)
Family Name: Brassica
important vegetables grown in Kenya for the local fresh market and little is exported. It is grown by both small The cabbage is one of the most and medium scale farmers and marketed in rural and urban areas. It is grown under rain fed and irrigated conditions. It is often referred to as a cole crop and will tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions but thrives in cooler temperatures. In addition it can tolerate hard frosts, but severe freezes can be damaging. Cabbage flavor improves with cooler temperatures because plant cells are working to convert starches to sugars to protect the plant against the cold. The result is a sweet, fresh taste that surpasses that of store-bought greens. 100gm of cabbages leaf contains 40 mg calcium, 0.5 mg iron, and 30 international units of vitamin, a potency, 0.05mg riboflavin, and 0.3 mg nicotinamide and 40mg ascorbic acid. Cabbage is mainly used for cooking and as a salad. It is also dehydrated and can also be used as a livestock feed.
Cabbages can be divided into three main groups: ballhead (or roundhead), conical and the large drumhead types. There is a wide range of cultivars available with many suited for production at particular times of the year whereas others can nearly be grown year round. Red cabbages are also grown but the major production is of green cabbage. There is a wide range of varieties and particularly for the newer cultivars, their suitability for a particular area can only be judged by growing them in the region. In Kenya, cabbage varieties grown depend on the targeted market requirements and taste. Sugar loaf, Gloria F1 hybrid and Copenhagen market are considered to be sweet tasting varieties. The varieties are classified as:
a) Processing - Large heads, firm, white varieties e.g. the drumheads
b) Urban centers - Medium to small heads e.g. Drumheads Copenhagen market, Golden acre, Sugar loaf and Gloria F1 hybrid
c) Rural areas - Medium to large heads e.g. Drum heads Copenhagen market, Sugarloaf, Golden acre Gloria F1 hybrid
d) Kitchen gardens - Varieties with long harvest period e.g. Sugar loaf, Copenhagen market.
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