Cabbage, radishes and carrots

By Larry Dowell

“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment. It bursts upon a man every year as though it had never happened before, but had just been shown by God how to do it and tried and found the impossible, possible.”  Ellis Peters

Several vegetables can be planted as “early as the ground can be worked” and do better in the cooler temperatures. We have discussed potatoes and onions. Cabbage, carrots and radishes are also early season vegetables that defy frost.

Cabbage comes in many varieties and can span the growing season, but it is a large plant and we plant only an early variety when the plants are available. There are also red, purple and crinkly varieties besides the common green variety. A plant with a small core will make more leaves. The plants can be set out in mid April about 2 feet apart to allow room for growth. They need mulch for moisture and to avoid cultivation. That can damage the shallow root system. Adequate watering will prevent the splitting that can occur with the rapid growth after a rain. Harvest when the head is firm.

Radishes can be found in red and white varieties and also a black winter radish. They can be planted now and replanted every two weeks until warm weather for a continuous crop. Frequent watering will keep the roots sweet and crisp. The first crops should be available in a month and they seem to mature faster with warmer weather.

Carrots are difficult to raise and require a very sandy soil for long root growth. They also have problems breaking through a crusty soil and mixing with radishes will ease this problem. Thin to 3-inch spacing by watering well and removing the excess plants. Weed by hand to avoid damage to the roots and keep well watered to prevent splitting.

from the Master Gardener's Notebook, Marshfield Mail