Wednesday, February 1, 2017
PORTUGUESE CABBAGE (Brassica oleracea var. costata)
This is just going to be a quick post today but I am excited to introduce a new plant in my garden. For the first time ever, I saw Portuguese Cabbage starts at Koolau Farmer's nursery about a month ago. I only heard about this cabbage for the first time a few years ago. It was an important vegetable in gardens of Portuguese workers on the sugar plantations here in Hawaii. They called it Couves. I am thrilled to actually see what it looks like and to have a go at growing it. After only a month of growing this single plant I am already a fan so this is why I wanted to write about it today. Have a look at the picture. It is a very sturdy plant and a no fuss one. There has been a bit of leaf miner in the old leaves but I just remove them. The plant is very similar to collard greens and apparently grows the same way......the stem just getting taller and will keep going all year long. I have already had a few leaves in a stir fry and I look forward to just picking leaves off as needed and having a constant supply. This is a picture of a young plant and hopefully I will be able to put up some pictures of the mature plant later on. You can check back for later reports.
In Portugal it is an important vegetable used in national dishes. It will work good in your Portuguese bean soup or in a stir fry or coleslaw. It can be grown from seed but apparently you can cut the head of the stalk off , remove most of the leaves and plant that up too. I expect the stalk then grows a few more heads....just like collard greens. Anyways, I did want to share my excitement about this plant and maybe it is something new for you to try as well.
A month and a half latter and the plant is still surviving. The leaf miner has not been bothering lately but those tiny round snails have to be watched for. I also get a few white fly hanging around under the leaves so I have a habit of tapping the leaves underneath as I walk by to make things too uncomfortable for them. One leaf is a serving for one person. I love it in a coleslaw with grated carrot and green onion.
Well my Portuguese Cabbage is still alive after five months and I am still enjoying a few leaves from it every week. It is now a head of leaves on a stalk. The white cabbage butterfly have become interested in it so I keep it covered with a bit of netting made from the net bag I bought some avocados in. It does seem to discourage the butterflies but it may just be that they are now more attracted to my neighbors cabbages.