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Root System Vigor in the Cabbage Family

Wild cabbage is a weed and grows like one, able to successfully compete for water against grasses and other herbs. Remove all competition with a hoe, and allow this weed to totally control all the moisture and nutrients in all the earth its roots can occupy, and it grows hugely and lushly. Just for fun, I once G-R-E-W one, with tillage, hoeing, and spring fertilization but no irrigation; it ended up 5 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter. As this highly moldable family is inbred and shaped into more and more exaggerated forms, it weakens and loses the ability to forage. Kale retains the most wild aggressiveness, Chinese cabbage perhaps the least. Here, in approximately correct order, is shown the declining root vigor and general adaptation to moisture stress of cabbage family vegetables. The table shows the most vigorous at the top, declining as it goes down.

Next: Adapted to dry gardening Not vigorous enough

Previous: Broccoli: Purple Sprouting and Other Overwintering Types

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