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News, events, and happenings in Colquitt County agriculture.

Around Colquitt County, I have noticed that farmers are already preparing land for fall vegetable crops so I thought it would be a good to write about the fertility requirements for cabbage. The best fertility management programs are based off of soil tests taken from the field areas where the cabbage is to be planted.     Trying to recommend a specific fertilizer management program that has universal application for all cabbage fields is impossible.  Because there are too many factors that need to be taken into consideration such as soil pH or residual nutrients from the previous crops.

Soil pH is very important in plant health in that it influences plant growth by controlling the availability of nutrients in the soil.   The optimal pH range for cabbage and leafy green production is 6.0- 6.5.  Calcium is also very important in cabbage production and should be maintained at 500 pounds per acre or slightly above.   As you can see in the picture below, calcium deficiency in Cabbage exhibits characteristic “tip burn” at tips/edges of the leaf. Leaves are deformed and cabbage head will not form if supplemental calcium is not applied. Cupping of leaves is typical.

calcium deficiency in cabbage


I have attached the following chart that indicates the pounds of fertilizer nutrients recommended for varying soil fertility levels according to the University of Georgia soil test ratings of residual phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

Fertilizer Recommendations for Cabbage and Leafy Greens

Ratings Low Medium High Very High
Recommended P 160 110 60 0
Recommended K 160 110 60 0

P – pounds of P2O5 recommended per acre K – pounds of K2O recommended per acre

NOTE: If soil testing is done by a lab other than the University of Georgia Soil Testing Laboratory, the levels recommended above may not apply.


All the recommended phosphorus should be applied or near time of transplanting.  One-third to one-half of the potassium should either (1) be applied in two bands, each 2 to 3 inches to the side and 2 to 3 inches below the level of plant roots or (2) be incorporated into the bed prior to seeding or transplanting.

Required Nitrogen rates vary depending on season rainfall, soil type, plant population. Etc.  For Coastal Plain soils require 175 to 225 pounds of nitrogen per acre.  However extremely sandy soils may need additional N or increased number of applications.

Keep in mind that broadcasting over the entire field is usually less effective than banding. However, an acceptable alternative to field broadcasting is the “modified broadcast” method by which a preplant fertilizer containing one-third to one-half of the nitrogen and potassium and all the recommended phosphorus and micronutrients is broadcast in the bed area only. The remainder of the recommended nitrogen and potassium should be applied in one to three applications as needed. It can be banded in an area on both sides of the row just ahead of the developing root tips.



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