In colder regions, often new gardeners mistakenly water more out of curiosity. Some gardening experts say that overwatering is most common problem that kills your plant.
Like most vegetable plants, cabbage needs enough water to thrive.
Watering cabbage plants depends on climatic condition in your region.
However, as a rule of thumb, your cabbage plant needs 1 inch of water per week. Experts say one inch water will make the soil wet up-to 10 inches.
In other words, dig the soil up-to 2 inches using a trowel. If the soil is dry, then you must water thoroughly. In case the soil is moist, your plant is in good shape.
Before writing in more detail about water, let’s have a look about the growing medium (soil), which is responsible to retain moisture.
Soil, Light and Water Requirements for Cabbage Plant
Cabbage grows well in cooler climates and as a vegetable plant it feeds on organic matter to grow its leaves and form head.
Cabbage plant doesn’t need much water. This vegetable plant must be watered moderately but shouldn’t be soggy. Like most plant, cabbage doesn’t like to sit in water.
Apart from providing essential nutrients, soil is responsible to retain moisture and drain excess water.
Preferred pH of soil for growing cabbage must be 6 to 7.
Choose the soil that drains well and stays moist most of the time.
If your growing medium is sandy, then you must increase watering schedule to avoid underwatering. So, not just temperature, your growing medium has important role in watering.
Without proper light you can’t expect good yield.
Cabbage plant needs 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. In some regions (hot summer), it can be grown in partial shade.
In summer days, you must increase your watering frequency, because the moisture easily gets evaporates to atmosphere in hot days.
You can use dry leaves as mulch to reduce water evaporation.
How Often Should You Water Cabbage Plants?
Efficient watering involves right timing and sufficient amount of water.
As mentioned above, cabbage is a cold weather loving plant and it can tolerate low temperature like 20F. Higher temperatures like 80F can ruin the plant growth and you might not get the yield.
Choosing well-drained soil mixed with dry compost works well with this vegetable plant.
Water your cabbage plant once or twice per day. I.e. the plant needs 1 inch of water per week. In rainy days you must reduce the watering frequency or just stop watering.
Conduct soil test, to determine the NPK ratio and its pH.
Also Read: How Often to Water Kale?
How to know: how much water does cabbage need?
To check the moisture, dig using a wooden stick or trowel. If the soil is dry up-to 3 inches, then you must start watering generously.
After a couple of weeks, you’d know the watering need of your plant.
As per almanac.com, cabbage needs 2 gallons of water every week.
When to water cabbage plant?
Watering 1 inch per week, doesn’t mean that you must water only once in a week. Your plant will face underwatering issues and leaves starts drooping.
For instance, if you’re living in sub tropical climate with well-drained growing medium, then watering twice in a day will be enough for plant to thrive.
Morning and evening are best time to water your cabbage plant.
Watering early morning will allow the plant to absorb the water efficiently and droplets on the foliage gets evaporate so you don’t have to worry about pests or disease.
On a light rain showers, you shouldn’t stop watering but reduce the quantity. Sometimes, rain water won’t be sufficient to moisturize enough deep soil. Watering manually will moisturize the soil for deeper layers.
How to water?
- Instead of using sprinkler, use water hose to moisturize the plant at soil level.
- Watering from top of foliage may often result in leaf diseases.
- To stop soil eroding due to watering through hose, place a small stone.
- You can also use drip irrigation is you’ve larger vegetable garden.
Overwatering – stop it
This is most common plant issue many new gardeners would face.
If you choose the wrong growing medium in your container, that fail to drain well. The water gets accumulated in the pot resulting in root rot.
Signs of watering including yellowing leaves, stunted growth and rotting smell from the bottom of the soil.
How to recover: Stop watering and shift the plant to make sure it gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
In case, the growing medium isn’t draining well, you must transplant the plant to preferred well-drained soil.
If delayed, in some cases the plant may die due to root rot.
Check this out: How Deep Do Cucumber Roots Grow?
Underwatering – avoid it
This happens when you’re on a vacation and you forgot to assign someone to water your plant regularly.
Unplanned tours often result in underwatered plants.
Drooping leaves, stunted growth and yellowing of leaves are common sings of underwatering.
Even the soil becomes bone dry.
You must start watering the plant thoroughly, until you see the excess water is drained out the hole.
If you’ve mixed vegetable plants in your garden, then you must determine the water needs of individual plant and water accordingly.
A small tip would be to plant similar water need plants at one side of the garden.
While planting you must also make note of their sunlight needs.
To recover from underwatering, start watering regularly and wait for the plant to come back to normal growing speed.
Also Read: How Many Garlic Grow from One Bulb?
Growing medium (soil) selection is crucial aspect of growing a healthy cabbage plant.
A well-drained soil mixed with enough fertile can efficiently drains excess water and provide required nutrients to the plant.
Watering frequency depends on climatic conditions of your region. If the days are cold or rainy, then you might have to reduce the watering. In hot summer days, you should provide extra water, as the water gets evaporated into atmosphere.
Use hose instead of sprinkler. Water droplets on the leaves may result in diseases and fungal growth.
Mulching – Most Important
A thin layer of mulch (hay grass) will save water form evaporation and reserve the soil moisture for longer time.
If you’re staying in sub-tropical and tropical regions, then mulching will save soil drying quickly.
Gardeners who’re growing cabbage in container must pay utmost attention towards watering frequency. As container plants easily gets overwatered.
Check the soil moisture by digging 2-3 inches deep. If the soil is sticky and moist, then you don’t have to water, else dry soil indicates that the plant needs water.
Also Read: Best Mulch for Tomatoes in Containers
Water gently at the base of the plant using hose, repeatedly watering at base may erode the soil. To avoid, you can place a stone or small wooden block at the base of the plant.
While you’re on a vacation, plan drip irrigation and ask neighbors help. Educate them about watering needs of your cabbage plant.
Issues like overwatering and underwatering can be identified by looking at the leaves of your plant. Drooping leaves with dry soil indicates you’re not giving enough water to your plant. Overwatering is common and sometimes it can be difficult to recover from it.