Wednesday, July 3, 2019

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Cabbage

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Cabbage, &c. Under Brassica is included all the several species of the Cabbage, among which Cauliflowers and Brocoli are classed. The proper time for sowing the seed of Brocoli is in the latter end of May, and transplant them into beds when they have eight leaves, and plant them out about the latter end of July, in a place well sheltered, not under the drip of trees, in a soil rather light than otherwise. About December, it is said, they will have purple heads, which are eaten, though I myself could never make them head before March. The distance these require is about two feet every way, though more would do better, if there is plenty of ground. The Roman Brocoli is the proper sort to cultivate, otherwise called the Italian Brocoli. When you cut the flowers or heads, cut to about five or six inches of the stem, and before they are boiled, strip off" the skin, and after having washed them, boil them in a clean cloth and serve them up with butter, as Cauliflowers are. The stems will eat like Asparagus, and the heads like Cauliflowers.

The common White Cabbage, capitata alba, is the proper sort for winter. It is long sided and flat. The seeds should be sown in April or March, and if they should grow long shanked, they should be pricked out till the middle of May, when they are to be transplanted to stand at about two and a half feet distance from one another, and three and a half row from row. Three things are necessary to Cabbages as well as other be watered in a dry season, hilled up if they grow long shanked, and kept clear of weeds, which draw the nourishment from the plants and make them spindle. In November take up your Cabbages by the roots, and plant them under a ridge of earth, with the tops of their heads to the south, covering the stems entirely; this will protect them the whole winter. If they are hard and compact when thus placed out, they will be sufficiently protected, and though the outside leaves may be affected by the frost, yet the hearts will remain entire.

The Savoy Cabbages, which are esteemed best when pinched by the frost, are to be treated in the same manner as the white, only they may be planted nearer one another, not being a long sort.

The Battersea Cabbage is the earliest of all, and bead in a short time, and burst if not cut soon:

But the Sugar Loaf, which is the finest, will remain a considerable time. These should be sown every month, and transplanted every season.

The Borecole, is treated like the white Cabbage, and need not be above a foot asunder. These are tough till the frost has made them tender.

There is a Cabbage which is called the Russia kind. They are very small, and soon degenerate, if the seed is not changed.

There is a Turnep Cabbage, which being very strong, is fit only for soup.

The seed of the Curled Colea*Ort are to be sown in July, about twelve inches asunder.

There is a Musk Cabbage, remarkable for its tasting like musk, and is to be treated in the common manner. I have met with these in Virginia, but Miller says, they are not propagated much in England, though the most delicious.

The common Cole'worts should be sown the beginning of July, and transplanted. There is a perenial Colewort, which will in poor land remain four years, but in rich not above two, before they go to seed. In order to save the seed of Cabbage, they should be taken out of the ground in November, and put under a hedge, or other sheltered place, buried up to the middle of the Cabbage, and in the spring they will begin to sprout and produce their seed. If the season should be dry, they should be assisted with moisture, and the stems should he supported. When the pods begin to be brown, cut off the extreme part of every branch or shoot. When your seeds are ripe, they should be cut off, threshed out when dry, and put into bags. By planting the several sorts of Cabbages together, as white and red, etc. there is a commixture of the effluvia of each, and each are vitiated, which is the reason, Miller imagines, why seed so soon degenerates in gardens, as gardeners are either negligent or unskilful in this particular, too generally.