Cabbage,Kales,other Brassicas- Revised

Scientific Name
Brassica oleracea L. (Capitata Group)
Order / Family
Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae)
Local Names
Kenya: Sukuma wiki (Swahili)
Common Names
Common names and related Brassicas; Cabbage, kale, choumolea, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, rape, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, savoy, turnip.
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Geographical Distribution in Africa

<i>Brassica oleracea</i> geographical distribution map © OpenStreetMap contributors, © OpenMapTiles, GBIF.
Geographical Distribution of Cabbage/Kale in Africa. Updated on 8 July 2019. Source FAOSTAT

Other Local names

Angola: Couve (Portuguese)
Algeria: Kroumb
Cameroon: Choux (local French): Chou blanc, Brocoli (French)
Ethiopia: Tikle gomen (Amharic)
Kenya: Kabici (Gikuyu), Kabeji (Swahili)
Togo: Chou commun
South Africa: Ikhaphetshu (isi Xhosa)
Tanzania: Kabichi (Swahili)
Zimbabwe: Kabejji (Shona)

General Information and Agronomic Aspects

Introduction

The genus Brassica belongs to the family Brassicaceae. The genus consists of around 37 species. Members of the genus are informally known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plants. Some of the notable economically significant species within the genus include: Brassica carinata (Ethiopian rape, Ethiopian kale or Ethiopian mustard), B. juncea (Chinese mustard, Indian mustard ), B. oleracea (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi and gai lan), B. napus (Rapeseed) and B. rapa (Synonym: Brassica campestris) (turnip, napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage, bok choy etc.). 

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group), Riana variety, Kenya Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group), Riana variety, Kenya

Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005

Ethiopian kale or Kanzira (Brassoca carinata) in a field in Jibana, Kenya. © Maundu, 2006
Ethiopian kale or Kanzira (Brassoca carinata) in a field in Jibana, Kenya.

© Maundu, 2006

Brassica juncea (Chinese or Indian mustard) in Katandika, Mozambique. © Maundu, 2007
Brassica juncea (Chinese or Indian mustard) in Katandika, Mozambique.

© Maundu, 2007

Bok choi or Pok choi- Brassica rapa. Kenya. © Maundu et al. 2007
Bok choi or Pok choi- Brassica rapa. Kenya.

© Maundu et al. 2007

Related Groups
1.    Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group)- Sukuma wiki (Swahili), Chomolia 
2.    Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group)- Cauliflower
3.    Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group)- Brussels sprouts 
4.  Brassica oleracea (Italica Group) Broccoli; Asparagus Broccoli; Calabrese; Calabrese Broccoli; Sprouting Broccoli 
5.    Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group): Kohlrabi
6.  Brassica oleracea (Tronchuda Group): low-growing annuals with spreading leaves such as Portuguese cabbage).

Brassica olearacea is one of the most important foods crops in the world. The wild uncultivated form of Brassica oleracea is known as wild cabbage and has its natural occurrence in South Europe where it is found in limestone sea cliffs, tolerating salt and lime conditions. Due to its long cultivation, many cultivars of Brassica oleracea exist including the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and many others. These fall in about seven or eight groups (depending on the author) based on the development of the plant. Important ones for the region include:
•    Acephala Group: These are non-heading cultivars including kale, collards and tree cabbage. This group is closest to the wild form. 
•    Capitata Group: Cultivars in this croup have a head like cabbage (white cabbage, savoy cabbage and red cabbage).
•    Botrytis Group: Cultivars in this group form compact inflorescences and include cauliflower.
•    Italica Group: (Some treat this as part of the Botrytis Group): Cultivars in this group also form compact inflorescences and include broccoli, asparagus broccoli and calabrese broccoli. 
•    Gemmifera Group: bud-producing cultivars including Brussels sprouts
•    Gongylodes Group: turnip-like cultivars such as kohlrabi
•  Tronchuda Group: low-growing annuals with spreading leaves such as Portuguese cabbage.
•   Alboglabra Group: - In this group is kai-lan (Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale)

Kohlrabi, Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group), at a grocery store in Kenya. Adeka et al., 2007
Kohlrabi, Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group), at a grocery store in Kenya.

Adeka et al., 2007

Members of Brassica oleracea are widely distributed throughout the world, from the tropics to temperate regions with cool climates. In the tropics they are particularly important in highland areas with moderate rainfall. While many of the members are grown for commercial purpose in Africa, the cabbage is also extensively grown for household use. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil types but prefers well drained fertile soils. Cabbage plants require full sunlight for optimal growth.  They are good sources of essential nutrients, including vitamins C and K, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. The vegetable is commonly consumed in various culinary preparations, such as soups, stews, salads, and stir-fries. It can be cooked, pickled, or fermented to enhance its flavors and extend its shelf life. (Source: Van der Vossen.& Seif, 2004, GBIF secretariat, 2021, The North Carolina Extension (https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group). © Pankaj Oudhia (Courtesy of EcoPort, www.ecoport.org
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group).

© Pankaj Oudhia (Courtesy of EcoPort, www.ecoport.org
Other brassicas grown in the region are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, savoy and turnip.Also grown in the region are radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. hortensis) and horseradish (Armoracia rusicana Gaertn.)

These vegetables are grown mainly for the local market. They are valuable as sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as a source of cash for smallscale farmers in rural and peri-urban areas. However, production is often constrained by damage caused by a range of pests (insects, diseases, nematodes and weeds).The range of pests attacking the different brassicas is similar, but the relative importance of individual pest species varies between the different crops. Cabbage is mainly sold fresh or as processed canned product. Processed products include those that are treated in vinegar, or fermented such as sauerkraut or kimchi. Fresh cut or lightly processed products include coleslaw and ready-to-eat salad mixes that contain shredded cabbage. Consumers generally prefer fresh green cabbage, when available, to stored cabbage. Much of the stored cabbage is grown for processing.

Species account

The main brassicas grown in the region include:
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group)) commonly referred as the headed cabbage is cultivated in various regions worldwide, including Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It is a cool-season crop that thrives in temperate climates or highland zones with moderate sunlight and well-drained soil.
Cabbage is a biennial plant with a short stem and a cluster of thick, overlapping leaves forming a round or elongated head. The leaves have a range of colors including white, green and red. The inner leaves are usually more tender and paler in color. 
Headed cabbage is classified into different varieties: white-headed cabbage (smooth white to green leaves), red-headed cabbage (red leaves), and savoy-headed cabbage (curly green leaves). Cabbage is usually consumed as a cooked or stir-fried vegetable, fresh as salads and is sometimes pickled. It is low in calories, rich in vitamins C, K, and B6, and packed with dietary fiber and antioxidants. Cabbage exhibits variations in head shape, size, leaf color, texture, maturity, flavor, and culinary uses (Van der Vossen.& Seif, 2004, GBIF secretariat, 2021, Schoch CL, et al., 2020).

Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group) in Kenya. Ⓒ Maundu, 2005
Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group) in Kenya.

Ⓒ Maundu, 2005

Cabbage at a Kenyan market - Amingo type. © Maundu et al., 2006
Cabbage at a Kenyan market - Amingo type.
© Maundu et al., 2006

Savoy cabbage, Kenya. © Maundu, 2006
Savoy cabbage, Kenya.
© Maundu, 2006

Chinese cabbage belongs to a different species, Brassica rapa (Synonym: Brassica campestris, B. chinensis, B. pekinensis). It is a leafy vegetable with elongated, cylindrical leaves forming a compact head. It is native to East Asia, particularly China and Korea but has now spread to the rest of the world including African countries. It is quite popular in Southern Africa. Chinese cabbage thrives in temperate climates and prefers well-drained soil and moderate amount of sunlight to grow optimally. The crop is widely consumed in various countries and comes in two main types: chinensis (with dark green leaves white petioles and more robust flavor often used in stir-fries and soups) and pekinensis commonly known as Napa cabbage (pale green leaves with a white stalk with milder taste commonly used in salads).
Within each type, there are various cultivars that exhibit differences in size, shape, leaf texture, and taste. Some cultivars have been specifically developed for early maturity or improved disease resistance, catering to specific growing conditions and consumer preferences (see Okamoto, et al., 2021 for more information).

Chinese cabbage B. rapa, Kenya Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005.
Chinese cabbage B. rapa, Kenya

Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005.

Related Brassica oleracea species
Kale- (Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group) - also known as collard or Sukuma wiki, is a leafy plant with no central head like cabbage. It forms loose clusters of nutritious dark green, broad. The leaves are smooth or slightly wrinkled, with a thick, fibrous texture. The plant can reach a height of 2-3 feet and develops a sturdy stem and adapt well to different climates and soil conditions, making it a versatile crop. 
The dark green leaves are commonly steamed, sautéed or stir fried and used as a side dish consumed along starchy foods. Kales are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Kale is also a great source of antioxidants and contains compounds with potential health benefits.
There are several cultivars of kale, each with its unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include curly kale, which has tightly curled leaves; Tuscan kale (also known as Lacinato or dinosaur kale), which has dark blue-green leaves with a bumpy texture; and red Russian kale, which features purplish-red veins and a sweeter taste. These cultivars offer a range of flavors, textures, and visual appeal, allowing for culinary creativity and diversity (specialtyproduce.com, ncsu.edu, Poveda et al., 2020).

Sukuma- (Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group), Kenya Ⓒ Adeka et al, 2005
Sukuma- (Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group), Kenya

Ⓒ Adeka et al, 2005

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group)) is a versatile plant with a stout stem, large green leaves, and a tightly packed head made of flower buds. It grows to a height of 30-80 cm and only the edible white flesh, known as "curd," is consumed. Cauliflower is rich in Vitamins C and K and is commonly cooked or used raw in salads and relishes.
This plant thrives in cool and temperate climates, preferring well-drained soil with organic matter. Consistent moisture is necessary, while extreme temperatures can be detrimental. Adequate sunlight is crucial for developing a compact head. Originally from the Mediterranean region, cauliflower is now grown worldwide, including Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. Prominent cauliflower cultivators in Africa include Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya, while other African countries often import cauliflower.
Cauliflower exhibits a range of appearances and colors due to different varieties and cultivars. Alongside the traditional white cauliflower, there are orange, green, and purple varieties. These variations arise from natural mutations or selective breeding to enhance taste, nutritional content, or visual appeal (Tjeertes, P., 2004.SANBI, n.d).

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group). © Pankaj Oudhia (Courtesy of EcoPort, www.ecoport.org)
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group).

© Pankaj Oudhia (Courtesy of EcoPort, www.ecoport.org)

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea (Italica Group)) is an annual plant that grows upright and can reach a height of 2-3 feet (60-90 cm). It has a big flowering head and small dark leaves at the base, which can be eaten as a vegetable. The main head of broccoli is made up of many small, tightly packed florets that are usually bluish-green but turn yellow as they mature. There are also purple or white varieties of broccoli. Broccoli is grown and consumed worldwide, especially in Europe, North America, and Asia. In Africa, its consumption is increasing in urban areas where it is more readily available, with countries like South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt seeing a growth in broccoli consumption.
Broccoli florets and stems can be cooked in various ways, such as steaming, boiling, stir-frying, roasting, or even eaten raw. It is commonly used in dishes like stir-fries, pasta, soups, salads, and casseroles. Broccoli complements different flavors and ingredients, including garlic, lemon, olive oil, cheese, and spices. Apart from its versatility in cooking, broccoli is also highly nutritious. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and a great choice for a healthy diet. It contains valuable vitamins C and K, folate, as well as minerals like potassium and iron. Broccoli is also packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals, which have been linked to various health benefits, including a reduced risk of certain types of cancer (PlantVillage, n.d. specialtyproduce.com)

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea (Italica group) in Nairobi, Kenya. Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea (Italica group) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005

Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group) is a small vegetable, each piece resembling a miniature cabbage. They are grown for their edible buds, which grow in a spiral pattern along the stem. Originally cultivated in Europe, particularly in Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, Brussels sprouts are now grown in other parts of the world, including North America, Australia, and parts of Asia. While not as widely consumed in Africa compared to other continents, Brussels sprouts are gaining popularity in certain regions.
Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, and contain significant amounts of iron and minerals like potassium. They can be prepared by steaming, boiling, roasting, or stir-frying. When cooked, their distinct slightly bitter flavor becomes milder. They complement various ingredients and seasonings and are commonly enjoyed as a side dish or added to salads, soups, and stir-fries (Tjeertes, P., 2004, specialtyproduce.com).
Seeds of the varieties given below are readily available from commercial seed companies. The ones below are available from vendors in Kenya.

Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group), Kenya. Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005
Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group), Kenya.

Ⓒ Adeka et al., 2005

Cabbage varieties



Variety name


Characteristics.


Globe Master F1 Hybrid"


-High yielding hybrid cabbage with wide adaptability to different conditions.

-Has a nice blue green colour and globe shaped with short core.

-Highly tolerant to black rot and Fusarium yellows.

-Grows up to 2.5 kg 75 days after transplanting 

-Can grow up to 3.5 kg under optimum conditions, especially in warm areas.


Gloria F1 Hybrid"


-Proven best F1 hybrid in fresh market and processing industry.

-Well adaptable to various climatic conditions withstanding high temperatures.

-Mid-early maturing variety, ready for harvesting in 90 days after transplanting.

-Head weighs about 4 kg with solid blue green colour and thick waxy layer .

-Has strong rooting, medium resistance to Fusarium yellows.

-Has good resistance to splitting and keeps well after harvesting.


Blue Dynasty F1":

 


-Adapted to a wide range of agro ecological zones.

-Heat tolerant.

-Maturity is about 80-85 days after planting.

-Head weight is about 4-6 kg of blue green color.

-Yield potential is about is 45-68 t/acre.

-Resistant to black rot, ring rot and diamondback moth.

-Has a good transport quality.


 "Victoria F1"


-It is widely accepted in various markets.

-Very fast growing with maturity period about 70-75 days from transplanting.

-It uniformly matures.

-Has compact heads each weighing between 4-5 kg.

-Its yield potential of about 45-56 t/acre.

-It transports well


"Oxylus F1"


-Adapted to a wide range of ago ecological zones.

-It has compact heads weighing about 4-5 kg each.

-Yield potential ranges from 45 to 56 t/acre.

-Its maturing period is about 70-75 days -from transplanting and matures uniformly.

-It is heat resistant and also resistant to alkalinity.

-It transports well. 


Green (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)-, F1 Hybrid"


-Medium-large, semi-upright plant grows well in medium hot to cold areas

-Has deep green, oblate head growing up to 4 kg under optimum conditions.

-Medium-early in maturity and takes about 75-80 days after transplanting.

-Has excellent field holding capacity and will last long in the field before bursting.


Riana F1 Hybrid"


-An all-round variety that is heat and cold tolerant.

-It produces round, blue-green compact heads weighing about 2.5 kg.

-Does well both in temperate, subtropical and tropical zones.

-Tolerant against black rot and tip burn.

-Matures in 90-100 days after transplanting 

-Has excellent non-bursting quality round head after maturity.


Super Master F1"


-Widely adaptable hybrid, produces round to flat-round, bluish green compact head weighing 4-5 kg.

-It has an excellent field holding capacity and can stand in the field for long without bursting. Matures in about 80-85 days after transplanting.

-Resistant to Fusarium yellows, Alternaria, medium to high resistance to black rot and diamondback moth.


Santar F1"


-It has a very firm compact, globe-shaped head, which is blue green in color.

-The weight is 4-6 kg.

-It matures in 80-90 days after transplanting.

-It has good resistance especially to black rot and diamondback moth.

-It has good transportation ability


Field Winner F1 Hybrid"

 


-takes about 80 days from transplanting to harvest.

-Head is semi-flat and weighs about 4 kg.

-It is resistant to black rot.

-It has a sweet taste.


 "CPI"

 


-It is a hybrid cabbage with green heads.

-Round shape and weighs 3-5 kg.

-Matures in 70-80 days after transplanting.

-It has a good field holding capacity since it does not burst easily.

-Has a sweet flavor, very ideal for salads.

-It is tolerant to Fusarium and black rot.


Pruktor F1 Hybrid"


-Takes about 80 days from transplanting to harvest.

-Head is high and round.

-It has high resistance to black rot.

-Has shown considerable resistance to diamondback moth. 


Red Dynasty F1"


-High in anthocyanin with compact heads weighing about 4-5 kg each.

- Yield potential ranges from 45 to 56 t/acre.

-Early maturing taking about 70-75 days from transplanting.

-Resistant to black rot and diamondback moth.

-Transports well.


Ruby Perfection F1 Hybrid"


-Vigorous, easy growing and heavy yielder with a deep red head weighing about 2 kg.

-Very uniform maturity, is late busting therefore has a long harvest period.

-Strong tolerance against heat and cold with ability to form heads at low temperatures.

-Matures in about 80 days after transplanting.


Copenhagen Market"


It is open-pollinated.

-The most popular amongst the ball-headed cabbages and a great favourite for the both home and market gardeners in Kenya at present.

-The heads are uniform round, firm, medium sized and weighing about 2-3 kg.

-The plant is short-stemmed and rather small, and can be spaced closer.

-It is early maturing, approx. 60-70 days after transplanting.

-Rather sensitive to splitting and should not be left in the field for too long after maturity.

-Highly dependable and productive variety.


Glory of Enkhuizen


-It is open-pollinated.

-A nice and attractive variety which is presently more popular in East and Central Africa.

-The plant is low and relatively wide.

-Heads are medium large, flat round, green, firm and sweet (sweeter than any drumhead type).

-Matures after about 12 weeks with the head weighing about 3.5 kg.

-Harvesting is spread for about 3 weeks thus market supply can be over a long period.


"Prize Drumhead"

 


-It is open-pollinated.

-A very late maturing variety in about 18-19 weeks.

-The heads are flat, solid, largest is about 30 cm in diameter and can weigh more than 5 kg.

-Plants are spreading type and very large,

-A hardy variety which produces high yields.


Sugar Loaf"


-It takes about 75 days from transplanting to harvest.

-Head is conical and weighs about 2 kg.

-Prefers cool conditions.

-Its suitable for areas with well distributed moderate to heavy rainfall.

-It should be planted in well drained soils./

Chinese cabbage varieties



Variety name


Characteristics.


Hero F1 (Sokoni)"


-Early maturing hybrid, which is ready 65 days after transplanting

-High tolerance against some virus diseases and black rot.

-It is strong against heat and cold, vigorous and easy growing.

-Medium sized green head with excellent internal white colour, weighing 2 kg with good transportation and storage ability.

-Suitable for high density planting due to its compact round leaves and standing plant habit.


Chihili"


-Open-pollinated Chinese cabbage.

-Produces uniform pale green, loaf-like heads,

-Grows vigorously and the core is white.

-Prone to bolt at low temperature.

-Widely adaptable cabbage with a slightly tangy flavour, popularly used in salads.

-Over the years the variety has become very popular in Tanzania.

Cabbage, Globe master variety at a grocery store in Kenya. © Maundu et al., 2007
Cabbage, Globe master variety at a grocery store in Kenya.
© Maundu et al., 2007

Broccoli varieties 



Variety name


Characteristics.


Calabrese"


-Early broccoli with medium large and compact heads with exquisite flavour.

-Abundance of fleshy stalked flowering shoots are produced over a long period.

-A nice variety with fine quality.


"Heritage F1"


-Ideal for cool climatic zones.

-It is dome shaped with lightly beaded florets.

-Maturity period is about 80 days from transplanting.

-Potential yield is about 8 t/acre.

-It has intermediate resistance to downy mildew.


"Dandy Early No. 32 F1"


-This is an early, vigorous variety

-Tolerant to black rot and downy mildew.

-Can withstand high temperatures.

-Head is firm, dome-shaped about 10-12 cm wide and 6 cm high.

-Matures 92 days after planting and harvesting continues for about 10 days.


Early Green F1"


-Early maturing with good quality heads.

-It has a typical single head and no side shoots.

-The heads are solid, regular shaped.

-It is mushroom shaped with uniform bluish green colour.

-Heads ripen evenly and harvesting starts 85 days after germination lasting 10-12 days.

-Responds well to heavy watering and thrives at high altitudes.

 

Cauliflower varieties 



Variety name


Characteristics.


Snowball


-Widely adaptable, mid-early variety.

-The curd is well covered by straight leaves, head is rather round, firm and white weighing approximately 1 kg.

-It is a popular kitchen garden variety.


"Snow Crown F1 Hybrid"

 


-Very early maturing variety in about 70 days after transplanting.

-Plants are medium-upright with excellent curd quality.

-The head is white and semi-dome shaped.

- High yielder with strong tolerance to heat and cold and a very popular hybrid for its easy growing.

-Head weighs about 850 gm.


"Extra Early Six Weeks"

 


-It takes 65 days from transplanting to harvest.

-Head is round and firm.

-Average head weight is about 1.2 kg.

-It is more exacting in climatic requirements.

-High temperatures are not favourable. Soils should be clean and high in organic matter.


 

"Kibo Giant"

 


-It takes about 75 days from transplanting to harvest.

-Head is snow white, compact and fined grained.

-Average head weight is about 1 kg.

-It has large wrapper leaves.


"Fremont F1"

 


-Ideal for cool climatic zones.

-Its fast growing with a maturity period of about 90-100 days from transplanting.

-It has attractive white colored curd.

-Yield potential of 7-9 t/acre.

-Average head weight is 600-800 grams.


"Italian Giant"

 


-Takes 75 days from transplant to harvest.

-Has a white, smooth and firm head.

--High temperatures are not favorable for its growth.


Wallaby"


-It takes 80-85 days to harvest from transplanting.

-Head is snow white, compact and fine grained. 

 

Kale varieties 



Variety name


Characteristics.


"Thousand Headed"


Stems are thick with dark green big leaves.

Continuous growing and hardy crop

Tolerant to cold temperatures

Can stay in the field for long time, thus giving higher yield.

Matures 90-100 days

Can be used as fodder for animals.

It is easily digestible and easy to cook.


Southern Georgia"


-Very popular seed variety grown across Africa. It has been developed to give high yields while up to 6 months before flowering thus profitable to farmers.

-The leaves are well flavored and easy to cook.

-It is popular in the local market.

-It is adapted to hot areas.

-It is hardy and resistant to black rot.


"Marrow Stem"

 


-Has dark green leaves and flavor and little fibre.

-It is vigorous, medium tall with finely curled leaves

-less prone to bird damage. 

For information on seed companies contact Horticultural Crops Development Authority. (info@agricultureauthority.go.ke, www.agricultureauthority.go.ke, +254 20 88469)

Ecological information and agronomic aspects on cabbage

Cabbage is a biennial plant that grows best under full sunlight. The optimum mean temperature for growth and quality head development is 15-18°C, with a minimum temperature of 4°C and a maximum 24°C. Generally, young plants are more tolerant to heat and cold than plants nearing maturity. For seed production cabbage plants need to pass through vernalisation: continuous days with temperatures at 1.7-10 °C before they start bolting. Broccoli and cauliflower produce seed without vernalisation. Cabbage grows well on a wide range of soils with adequate moisture and fertility. Soil pH in the range of 6.0-6.5 is preferred, but cabbage will tolerate a soil pH range of 5.5 to 6.8. Cabbage is a heavy feeder, so to get good yields, proper fertilisation is necessary. To maintain growth, cabbage requires a consistent supply of moisture, and should as a general rule receive a minimum of 2.5 cm of water per week. Larger quantities may be required when cabbage is grown on sandy soils or when evapotranspiration is high.  

Nutrient deficiencies 

Growing healthy plants is the best way of avoiding problems. Healthy plants grow on a healthy and well nourished soil with a good texture. Good compost is the best and most balanced soil and plant feed available to farmers. Regardless of soil type, excessive N (nitrogen) can promote second growth and split heads. A high level of nitrogen will also shorten storage life of cabbage and promote pungent odour (strong smells) during cooking. Combined with high temperatures, excess N (nitrogen) can promote such rapid growth that plants show symptoms of tip burn in susceptible cultivars. Depressed yields, delayed maturity, reduced keeping quality and strong or objectionable flavours are indicative of N deficiency. Like most cruciferous crops, cabbage has a high requirement for boron and molybdenum. Boron deficiency causes yellowing or chlorosis of the youngest leaves and stems, which often starts from the base and extends to the tip, hollow and discoloured inside stems of broccoli and cauliflower, and hollow and/or shrunken roots of turnips. Rosetting or even death of terminal shoots or buds occurs in extreme cases. The common symptoms of molybdenum deficiency in cabbage include a general yellowing, marginal and interveinal chlorosis, marginal necrosis, rolling, scorching and downward curling of margins usually on older leaves. Compost and well rotted animal manures are good sources of most micronutrients including boron and molybdenum. 

Land preparation and management

  • Prepare land well before transplanting.
  • Avoid field operations when it is wet. This will help to prevent inadvertent spread of diseases from plant to plant and movement of infested soil within and outside the field.
  • Keep fields free of weeds. Especially weeds of the brassica family are potential alternative hosts of insect pests and diseases and are nutrient competitors.
  • Ensure optimal fertilisation. Cabbage has a very shallow root system and is particularly responsive to phosphorus. Where the soil has a low phosphorus content the application of 'Mijingu Rock Phosphate' is recommended.

Propagation and planting Seedlings:

  • Practise crop rotation: site seedbeds on land not previously under crucifers, and preferably away from old crucifer fields.
  • Use clean wooden trays to raise seedlings, use mixture of compost and top soil or forest soil for raising seedlings.
  • Heat soil in the seedbed: place plenty of crop trash or straw and burn for at least 30 min, and after cooling, mix the soil with compost in equal proportions.
  • Use certified disease free seed of resistant/tolerant cultivars.
  • Mulch seedlings in the seedbed, if possible.
  • Do not over water seedlings in the seedbed: water seedlings early in the morning and thin out seedlings to avoid plant congestion in the seedbed. Excessive watering is conducive to damping-off diseases, and extended wetness of seedlings favours development of foliar diseases.

A smallholder farmer watering a kale nursery bed

A smallholder farmer watering a kale nursery bed

 

Seeds:

Treating own seed in hot water to prevent seed-borne diseases such as black rot, black leg, black spot and ring spot is recommended where these diseases have previously appeared Hot water treatment of seeds helps reduce the seed-borne pathogens. However, the specified temperature and time interval should be strictly followed in order to maintain seed viability. Use a good thermometer or better ask for assistance from qualified personnel from your local agriculturist office. Recommended temperature and time for hot water treatment for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale kohlrabi and turnip is 50°C (122 F) for 30 minutes.

For more details on Hot water treatment click here

 

Husbandry

 
  • Cabbage is often planted on raised beds that are shaped from bare soil after ploughing and disking. This technique is popular on level soils where furrow irrigation is also used. Bed culture is also used in other areas to improve soil drainage or when plastic mulch is used. The trend has been toward increased use of conservation tillage, particularly on steeply-sloping soils prone to erosion. Producing cabbage using conservation tillage reduces the number of field passes by farm equipment, thus reducing compaction, preserving equipment and conserving fuel.
  • Conservation tillage systems cause minimum disturbance to the soil after the previous crop has been harvested. Crop residues are left in the field to reduce soil erosion, conserve moisture, inhibit weed growth, and act as green manure. There are several types of conservation tillage in use, as well as combinations of conservation and conventional tillage. However, in disease management, crop residues must be either removed from the field and destroyed or deeply ploughed to reduce sources of disease infection and spread.
  • Advantages of conservation tillage for cabbage production include less machinery, labour and fuel, as well as reduced soil erosion and compaction. Disadvantages of conservation tillage include lower soil temperatures, slower germination and emergence when direct sowing is used, slower early growth, delayed competition with weeds, higher incidence of root diseases, heavier crop residue, the possibility of more difficult planter operation, weed spectrum changes, and potential increase of soil insect pests or insects that spend part of their life cycle in the soil (e.g. cutworms, thrips, leafmining flies, grubs). Cultivation exposes these pests to desiccation by the sun heat and to predation by natural enemies

 

Hand weeding in a cabbage plot

Hand weeding in a cabbage plot

 

Intercropping

  • Intercrop brassica crops with trap crops or repellent plants, to reduce pest infestation. Tomato reportedly repels diamondback moth and Indian mustard acts as a trap crop. Intercropping brassicas with spinach, beans or dill reportedly reduces aphid infestation.
  • Tomatoes when planted 14 days before cabbage reduce the incidence of and damage by diamondback moth. Cabbage intercropped with tomato, coriander or garlic, combined with the application of neem seed kernel extract protects plants from diamondback moth in the field. Indian mustard, Chinese cabbage, and radish are good trap crops for controlling cabbage webworm, flea hopper, and mustard aphid when planted in every 15 rows of cabbage. The mustard row is either in the outermost or in the middle row to avoid caterpillars being blown by wind into the cabbage plants. To control cabbage head caterpillar, Indian mustard should be planted 12 days before transplanting cabbage. Do not plant cabbage where members of the cabbage family have been grown for 3 consecutive years to avoid serious problems of pests and diseases (especially soil borne diseases).

 

Monitoring

Scouting on a kale nursery by icipe trainees

Scouting on a kale nursery by icipe trainees

Kale . Small scale farmers inspecting a kale crop.

It entails regular field observation during the crop production cycle for pests, diseases, weeds and general aspects of crop health like nutrition and water requirements. Field monitoring methods are virtually the same, but most importantly, in the process is problem recognition. Thus it is very important to be able to identify pests and diseases and to differentiate a pest from a beneficial insect, a pest damage from disease damage, and a pest or disease damage from nutritional problems or physiological disorders.

  • Monitor fields regularly for pest and disease occurrence. Early detection of pests and diseases is important as outbreaks are easier controlled in the initial stages. Cutworms and other insects can do a lot of damage in just 1 or 2 days.
  • Scout for caterpillar presence: feeding damage and caterpillar excrement give an indication of their activity. Scouting can be done by walking in a zigzag pattern through the field.
  • Check for aphids and whether parasitised aphids (mummies) and natural enemies such as ladybird beetles and lacewings are present. Since aphid populations are often clustered, all portions of the field should be checked. For more information on Natural enemies click here.
  • Scout for the major brassica diseases (refer to major diseases below).
    Cabbage grown in sunken beds and zai pits during the dry season in Migwani, Kitui, Kenya. © Maundu, 2021
    Cabbage grown in sunken beds and zai pits during the dry season in Migwani, Kitui, Kenya.
    © Maundu, 2021

Harvesting and post harvest practices and markets

Harvest
Cabbage is often hand-harvested when heads are firm to the touch but before cracking begins. With hand harvesting, a given field is harvested two to four times to obtain heads of uniform size and maturity. Only one to three harvests of hybrid cultivars are required because of their greater uniformity. Use of uniform transplants and consistent growing conditions also helps reduce the number of harvests. Yields will vary with the season of production, cultivar, and production system used. With proper management, cabbage can produce 10-12 tons per acre. Generally, most fresh markets prefer heads that weigh on average 1-2,5 kg. For processing into coleslaw or sauerkraut, or for long-term storage, larger-headed cultivars are used.
Post-harvest practices.
To maintain the quality and prolong the storage life of cabbage heads, it is crucial to store the vegetable in a cool, well-ventilated, and dark environment, maintaining a temperature of approximately 20°C. During transportation, it is recommended to use ventilated boxes, net bags, or lightweight Hessian sacks. For transportation, use ventilated boxes, net bags, or lightweight Hessian sacks. To achieve longer storage, maintain a temperature of 1°C with high relative humidity (95–98%), which allows cabbage heads to be stored for 2–3 months.
Regularly monitor the cabbage heads for spoilage signs like decay, wilting, or discoloration. Remove any damaged or diseased heads promptly. Record the storage conditions and quality assessments to identify and address any issues (van der Vossen & Seif, 2004).
Value addition and markets 
The market for cabbages and other brassicas is projected to be valued at approximately USD 39.40 billion in 2023 and is anticipated to reach USD 45.70 billion by 2028. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.01% during the forecast period from 2023 to 2028. In 2021, Cabbages ranked 610th among the world's most traded products, with a trade value of $3.7 billion. China and India are the leading global producers and exporters of cabbage. Other significant producers include the United States, Russia, and South Korea. In Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa are prominent cabbage-producing countries (globenewswire.com, Tjeertes, P., 2004).
In Africa cabbages are grown mainly for the local market. They are valuable as sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as a source of cash for small-scale farmers in rural and peri-urban areas. However, production is often constrained by damage caused by a range of pests (insects, diseases, nematodes and weeds). The range of pests attacking the different brassicas is similar, but the relative importance of individual pest species varies between the different crops. Cabbage is mainly sold fresh or as processed canned product. Processed products include those that are treated in vinegar, or fermented such as sauerkraut or kimchi. Fresh cut or lightly processed products include coleslaw and ready-to-eat salad mixes that contain shredded cabbage. Consumers generally prefer fresh green cabbage, when available, to stored cabbage. Much of the stored cabbage is grown for processing.

Sukuma wiki (kale) in a market in Kenya. © Maundu, 2007
Sukuma wiki (kale) in a market in Kenya.
© Maundu, 2007

Field sanitation

Remove crop residues immediately after harvest and also remove volunteer plants from the field.

Oxalis weed

Oxalis weed in kale nursery

 
Nut grass(

Nut grass(Cyperus rotundus ) in kale nursery seedbed

 

Varieties grown in Kenya

Seeds of the varieties given below are readily available from seed companies and vendors in Kenya. For information on seed companies contact Horticultural Crops Development Authority. ( info@agricultureauthority.go.kewww.agricultureauthority.go.ke, +254 20 88469) 
 
 

Cabbage varieties  

 

"Globe Master F1 Hybrid"

This is a high yielding hybrid cabbage with wide adaptability to different conditions. It has nice blue green colour and globe shaped with short core. It is highly tolerant to black rot and Fusarium yellows. It grows up to 2.5 kg 75 days after transplanting but can grow up to 3.5 kg under optimum conditions, especially in warm areas.

 

"Gloria F1 Hybrid"

It is a proven best F1 hybrid in fresh market and processing industry. Well adaptable to various climatic conditions withstanding high temperatures. It is a mid-early maturing variety, ready for harvesting in 90 days after transplanting. Head weighs about 4 kg with solid blue green colour and thick waxy layer and has strong rooting, medium resistance to Fusarium yellows. Has good resistance to splitting and keeps well after harvesting.

 

"Blue Dynasty F1":

It is adapted to a wide range of agro ecological zones. It is heat tolerant. Maturity is about 80-85 days after planting. Head weight is about 4-6 kg of blue green colour. Yield potential is about is 45-68 t/acre. It is resistant to black rot, ring rot and diamondback moth.It has a good transport quality.

 

"Victoria F1"

It is widely accepted in various markets. Its very fast growing with maturity period about 70-75 days from transplanting. It uniformly matures. It has compact heads each weighing between 4-5 kg. Its yield potential ia about 45-56 t/acre. It transports well.

 

"Oxylus F1"

It is adapted to a wide range of agro ecological zones. It has compact heads weighing about 4-5 kg each. Yield potential ranges from 45 to 56 t/acre. Its maturing period is about 70-75 days from transplanting and matures uniformly. It is heat resistant and also resistant to alkalinity. It transports well. 

 

"Green Coronet F1 Hybrid"

Medium-large, semi-upright plant grows well in medium hot to cold areas, with deep green, oblate head growing up to 4 kg under optimum conditions. Medium-early in maturity and takes about 75-80 days after  transplanting. Has excellent field holding capacity and will last long in the field before bursting.

 

"Riana F1 Hybrid"

This is an all-round variety that is heat and cold tolerant. It produces round, blue-green compact heads weighing about 2.5 kg. It does well both in temperate, subtropical and tropical zones. It is tolerant against black rot and tip burn. It matures in 90-100 days after transplanting and has excellent non-bursting quality round head after maturity.

 

"Super Master F1"

Widely adaptabe hybrid, produces round to flat-round, bluish green compact head weighing 4-5 kg. It has an excellent field holding capacity and can stand in the feld for long without bursting. Matures in about 80-85 days after transplanting. It is resistant to Fusarium yellows, Alternaria, medium to high resistance to black rot and diamondback moth.

 

"Santar F1"

It has a very firm compact, globe-shaped head, which is blue green in colour. The weight is 4-6 kg. It matures in 80-90 days after transplanting. It has good resistance especially to black rot and diamondback moth. It has good transportation ability.

 

"Field Winner F1 Hybrid"

It takes about 80 days from transplanting to harvest. Head is semi-flat and weighs about 4 kg. It is resistant to black rot. It has a sweet taste.

 

"CPI"

It is a hybrid cabbage. It has green heads. The weight is 3-5 kg. The shape is round. It matures in 70-80 days after transplanting. It has a good field holding capacity since it does not burst easily. It has a sweet flavour therefore very ideal for salads. It is tolerant to Fusarium and black rot.

 

"Pruktor F1 Hybrid"

It takes about 80 days from transplanting to harvest. Head is high and round. The head weighs about 5 kg. It has high resistance to black rot. It has shown considerable resistance to diamondback moth. 

 

"Hero F1 (Sokoni)"

This is a Chinese cabbage. It is an early maturing hybrid, which is ready 65 days after transplanting. It has high tolerance against some virus diseases and black rot. It is strong against heat and cold, vigorous and easy growing. It produces medium sized green head with excellent internal white colour, weighing 2 kg with good transportation and storage ability. It is suitable for high density planting due to its compact round leaves and standing plant habit.
 

"Chihili"

It is open-pollinated Chinese cabbage. It produces uniform pale green, loaf-like heads, grows vigorously and the core is white. It is prone to bolt at low temperature. It is a widely adaptable cabbage with a slightly tangy flavour, popularly used in salads. Over the years the variety has become very popular in Tanzania.

 

"Red Dynasty F1"

It is high in anthocyanin with compact heads weighing about 4-5 kg each. Its yield potential ranges from 45 to 56 t/acre. Its early maturing taking about 70-75 days from transplanting. It is resistant to black rot and diamondback moth. It transports well.

 

"Ruby Perfection F1 Hybrid"

This is a vigorous, easy growing and heavy yielder with a deep red head weighing about 2 kg. Very uniform maturity, is late busting therefore has a long harvest period. It has strong tolerance against heat and cold with ability to form heads at low temperatures. It matures in about 80 days after transplanting.

 

"Copenhagen Market"

It is open-pollinated. It is the most popular amongst the ball-headed cabbages and a great favourite for the both home and market gardeners in Kenya at present. The heads are uniform round, firm, medium sized and weighing about 2-3 kg. The plant is short-stemmed and rather small, and can be spaced closer. It is early maturing, approx. 60-70 days after transplanting. It is rather sensitive to splitting and should not be left in the field for too long after maturity. It is a highly dependable and productive variety.

 

"Glory of Enkhuizen"

 

Glory of Enkuizen cabbge

Glory of Enkuizen cabbge planted in strips

 
 
It is open-pollinated. A nice and attractive variety which is presently more popular in East and Central Africa. The plant is low and relatively wide. The heads are medium large, flat round, green, firm and sweet (sweeter than any drumhead type). It matures after about 12 weeks with the head weighing about 3.5 kg. Harvesting is spread for about 3 weeks thus market supply can be over a long period.

 

"Prize Drumhead"

It is open-pollinated. A very late maturing variety in about 18-19 weeks. The heads are flat, solid, largest is about 30 cm in diameter and can weigh more than 5 kg. Plants are spreading type and very large, A hardy variety which produces high yields.

 

"Sugar Loaf"

It takes about 75 days from transplanting to harvest. Head is conical and weighs about 2 kg. Prefers cool conditions. Its suitable for areas with well distributed moderate to heavy rainfall. It should be planted in well drained soils.
 
 

Broccoli varieties  

"Calabrese"

An early broccoli with medium large and compact heads with exquisite flavour. An abundance of fleshy stalked flowering shoots are produced over a long period. A nice variety with fine quality.

 

"Heritage F1"

It is ideal for cool climatic zones. It is dome shaped with lightly beaded florets. Maturity period is about 80 days from transplanting. Potential yield is about 8 t/acre. It has intermediate resistance to downy mildew.

 

"Dandy Early No. 32 F1"

This is an early, vigorous variety tolerant to black rot and downy mildew. It can withstand high temperatures. The head is firm, dome-shaped about 10-12 cm wide and 6 cm high.It matures 92 days after planting and harvesting continues for about 10 days.

 

"Early Green F1"

It is early maturing with good quality heads. It has a typical single head and no side shoots. The heads are solid, regular shaped. It is mushroom shaped with uniform bluish green colour. The heads ripen evenly and harvesting starts 85 days after germination lasting 10-12 days. The variety responds well to heavy watering and thrives at high altitudes.

 

Cauliflower varieties  

"Snowball"

This is a widely adaptable, mid-early variety. The curd is well covered by straight leaves, head is rather round, firm and white weighing approximately 1 kg. It is a popular kitchen garden variety.

 

"Snow Crown F1 Hybrid"

This is a very early maturing variety in about 70 days after transplanting. Plants are medium-upright with excellent curd quality. The head is white and semi-dome shaped. It is a high yielder with strong tolerance to heat and cold and a very popular hybrid for its easy growing. Head weighs about 850 gm.

 

"Extra Early Six Weeks"

It takes 65 days from transplanting to harvest. Head is round and firm. Average head weight is about 1.2 kg. It is more exacting in climatic requirements. High temperatures are not favourable. Soils should be clean and high in organic matter.

 

"Kibo Giant"

It takes about 75 days from transplanting to harvest. Head is snow white, compact and fined grained. Average head weight is about 1 kg. It has large wrapper leaves.

 

"Fremont F1"

It is ideal for cool climatic zones. Its fast growing with a maturity period of about 90-100 days from transplanting. It has attractive white coloured curd. Yield potential of 7-9 t/acre. Average head weight is 600-800 grams.

 

"Italian Giant"

It takes 75 days from transplant to harvest. It has a white, smooth and firm head. High temperatures are not favourable for its growth.

 

"Wallaby"

It takes 80-85 days to harvest from transplanting. Head is snow white, compact and fine grained. 

 

Kale varieties  

"Thousand Headed"

This is a continuous growing and hardy crop that is tolerant to cold temperatures. It can stay in the field for a long time, therefore, giving a higher yield. It has a thick stem with big leaves that are dark green, smooth and attractive. It matures between 90-100 days. It can also be used as fodder for animals. It is easily digestible and easy to cook.

 

"Southern Georgia"

It is a very popular seed variety grown across Africa. It has been developed to give high yields while up to 6 months before flowering thus profitable to farmers.The leaves are well flvoured and easy to cook. It is popular in the local market. It is adapted to hot areas. It is hardy and resistant to black rot.

 

"Marrow Stem"

The variety has dark green leaves and flavour and little fibre. It is vigorous, medium tall with finely curled leaves which are less prone to bird damage. 
 
 

Fresh Quality Specifications for the Market in Kenya

The following specifications constitute raw material purchasing requirements 
 

 S. Kahumbu, Kenya

 
 
 

 S. Kahumbu, Kenya

 

 
 
 

 S. Kahumbu, Kenya

 
 
 

S. Kahumbu, Kenya

Nutritional value and recipes

Brassica oleracea offers various health benefits and can they be enjoyed in many different ways, such as pickled, raw, fermented (like sauerkraut), or cooked through various methods. It is nutritious, containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. With its high water content and low sodium levels, it is suitable for people with diabetes. B. Olearacea also provides dietary fiber, promoting digestion and regular bowel movements. Some brassicas like the cabbage, kale and broccoli may have good amounts of potassium, helping to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. The kale has good amounts of iron for red blood cell formation. Brassica oleracea species also have powerful antioxidants that protect against damage from free radicals, potentially preventing cancer. Their soluble fiber and plant sterols contribute to lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Additional health benefits include their high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, which support heart health, decrease inflammation, promote blood clotting and bone metabolism, and help limit neuronal damage in the brain, particularly in Alzheimer's patients. Brassica oleracea is also a good source of vitamin B6, B9, B1, and B5, which are essential for energy metabolism and the proper functioning of the nervous system (see Kubala, 2017, More et al, 2020, Adelanwa & Medugu, 2015). Their water content, particularly that of cabbage is however quite high, meaning quite good amounts would need to be eaten. White cabbage is particularly poor in the above nutrients. With their relatively lower water content and more dark green leaves, kales are much more nutritious.

Table 1: Proximate nutritional composition of 100 g of vegetables



 


Cabbage, leaf head, Chinese, raw


Cabbage, leaf head, red raw


Cabbage, leaf head, white, raw


Kale (sukuma wiki) raw


Cauliflower, tops and stems, raw


Broccoli, tops and stems, raw


Recommended daily allowance (approx.) for adults a


Edible portion


0.92


0.84


0.78


0.88


0.7


0.6


 


Energy (kj)


40


110


76


121


79


143


9623


Energy(kcal))


10


26


18


29


19


34


2300


Water (g)


97


91.1


93.8


89.2


93.2


89


2000-3000c


Protein (g)


0.9


1.3


1.1


3


2


3.3


50


Fat (g)


0.3


[0.2]


[0.1]


[0.3]


0.2


0.3


<30 (male), <20 (female)b


Carbohydrates


0.4


3.1


2.2


1.2


0.9


2.7


225 -325g


Total dietary Fibre (g)


1.1


3.4


2.2


4.7


2.8


3.7


30d


Ash (g)


0.4


0.9


0.7


1.6


0.9


1


 


Mineral composition


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Calcium (mg)


36


45


47


402


17


66


800


Iron (mg)


1.4


0.7


0.5


2.8


0.8


0.8


14


Magnesium (mg)


10


29


9


41


11


21


300


Phosphorus (mg)


40


14


40


67


49


75


800


Potassium (mg)


250


241


313


238


292


336


4,700f


Sodium (mg)


16


16


37


71


30


22


<2300e


Zinc (mg)


0


0.3


0.2


0.5


0


1


15


Se (mg)


1


1


1


0


1


1


30


Bioactive compound composition


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Vit A RE (mcg)


16


1


tr


177


0


25


800


Vit A RAE (mcg)


32


2


tr


355


0


51


800


Retinol (mcg)


0


0


0


0


0


0


1000


Beta-carotene equiv (mcg)


190


10


tr


2127


2


303


600 – 1500g


Thiamine (mg)


0.03


0.09


0.04


0.11


0.06


0.1


1.4


Riboflavin (mg)


0.04


0.13


0.04


0.13


0.09


0.22


1.6


Niacin (mg)


0.4


0.5


0.4


1


0.5


0.5


18


Folate (mcg)


170


57


15


62


44


48


400f


Vit B12 (mcg)


0


0


0


0


0


0


3


Vit C (mg)


20


69


50


134


70


103


60

Source (Nutrient data): FAO/Government of Kenya. 2018. Kenya Food Composition Tables. Nairobi, 254 pp. http://www.fao.org/3/I9120EN/i9120en.pdf

$ Draining the water several times leaches away water soluble nutrients significantly.

a Lewis, J. 2019. Codex nutrient reference values. Rome. FAO and WHO

b NHS (refers to saturated fat)

c https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/water/

d British Heart Foundation

e FDA

f NIH

g Mayo Clinic

Recipes
1. Sukuma wiki na Terere (kale and amaranth)

Ingredients
90 g Local kale (Sukuma wiki)
100 g Terere (Amaranth)
½ to 1 cup of water    
1 tablespoon cooking fat
1 small onion (60 g)
1 medium-sized tomato (40 g)
¼ cup of fresh milk
Salt to taste 

Preparation
•    Pluck stalks of the kale (sukuma wiki).
•    Wash the vegetables separately, drain and chop the sukuma wiki only. You may also chop the amaranth.
•    Heat the water and add the vegetable mixture.
•    Blanching is done as it retains nutrients.
•    In a separate saucepan, heat the fat, add the chopped onion and fry it till it begins to turn golden brown.
•    Add the chopped tomato and fry them until tender.
•    Add the vegetables and stir-fry for five minutes.
•    Add 1 pinch salt to taste.
•    Vegetables ready to serve.

Variation
½ cup fresh milk or ¼ cream could be added. It is usually better to add tomatoes onto vegetables, avoid cooking tomatoes for long so as to retain Vitamin C.

Remarks 
This mixture is enjoyed by all age-groups. This mixture is not bitter. These vegetables are soft and their cooking duration is short. This combination is more palatable when fried rather than when boiled.

2. Kanzira sukuma with groundnut 

Ingredients
2 handfuls (150 g) Ethiopian mustard leaves (saro, loshuu, kanzira sukuma, figiri - Brassica carinata)
1 (50 g) onion
2 (60 g) tomatoes
4 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons groundnut flour
½ cup fresh milk
Salt

Preparation
•    Select the tender leaves of Ethiopian mustard. 
•    Wash in clean running water to remove soil and insects.
•    Cut the midrib and shred the mustard finely.
•    Wash, peel and chop the tomatoes.
•    Clean, wash and chop the onion.
•    Fry the onion lightly, add tomatoes and stir till soft.
•    Add shredded mustard and stir till well mixed. Simmer while covering the pan for 2 minutes.
•    Mix groundnut flour with milk, add into the vegetables and stir for 2 minutes.
•    Season to taste and serve as a relish.

Variation
Use coconut milk, water or cream instead of milk
Use peanut butter instead of groundnuts
Use meat instead of groundnuts

3. Fried Ethiopian mustard 

Ingredients
200 g Ethiopian mustard leaves (Figiri, Saro, Loshuu, Kanzira sukuma)
50 g onions
½ cup cooking oil
Salt to taste
60 g carrots (optional)
100 g tomatoes

Preparation
•    Select the tender leaves
•    Wash in a clean running water to remove soil and insects
•    Cut the midrib and shred the mustard finely
•    Clean, wash and chop the onions
•    Wash, peel and grate the carrots
•    Mix the shredded mustard, onions, and grated carrots and salt thoroughly
•    Heat the oil and fry the vegetables for almost 10 minutes or until done
•    Season to taste and serve as a side dish
•    Wash tomatoes, slice and garnish the cooked vegetables

Remark
The vegetable cooks fast

Fried Ethiopian mustard (Kanzira sukuma). © Maundu, 2006
Fried Ethiopian mustard (Kanzira sukuma).
© Maundu, 2006

4. Fresh Ethiopian kale with pounded groundnuts

Ingredients
1.75 kg (2 bundles) Fresh Ethiopian kale leaves (Figiri, Saro, Loshuu, Kanzira sukuma)
32 g (4 teaspoons) Salt
60 g Tomatoes 
40 g Onions
½ Cup Pounded groundnuts or groundnut sauce
½ Cup Water

Preparation
Pluck stalks off the vegetables, wash and chop the vegetables into small pieces.
Boil for 25-30 minutes in 1 cup of water.
Add chopped tomato, chopped onion, pounded groundnuts, 1/3 cup water and salt, then mix.
Simmer and cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Serve with Nshima, or preferred starch.

5. Budzi, mutsalafu and sukuma wiki
Ingredients
70 g budzi leaves (Vernonia cinerea)
50 g mutsalafu leaves (Senna occidentalis)
20 g sukuma wiki (kale) leaves
40 g onions
1 tablespoonful leek
1 tablespoonful parsley
1 tablespoonful ginger
1 tablespoonful garlic
1 tablespoonful turmeric
1 tablespoonful celery
2 tablespoonfuls cooking oil
½ coconut milk
110 g tomatoes

Method
Boil water and add salt
Blanch the leaves for 5 minutes
Wash in cold water and the chop
Heat the oil, add onions and all ground ingredients
Add salt, water and coconut milk. Cook for another 4 minutes
Add vegetables and cook for 10 minutes
Serve with any suitable salad

Remark
Tasty, not bitter. 

Budzi, mutsalafu and sukuma wiki (kale). Coastal Kenyan recipe. ©Maundu, 2006
Budzi, mutsalafu and sukuma wiki (kale). Coastal Kenyan recipe.
©Maundu, 2006

Information on Pests

The major pest constraints of brassicas in Africa were identified as the diamondback moth (DBM), cabbage aphids, cabbage webworm and Bagrada bugs.

Information on Diseases

The most important diseases are blackrot, blackleg, black spot and Turnip Mosaic Virus

Contact Information

References and information Source Links

References 

  1. African museums.https://www.africamuseum.be/en/research/collections_libraries/biology/prelude/view_plant?pi=02047
  2. AVRDC Training Center: Cabbage www.avrdc.org
  3. CAB International (2005). Crop Protection Compendium, 2005 edition. Wallingford, UK www.cabi.org
  4. CAB International (2021). Crop Protection Compendium, 2005 edition. Wallingford, UK www.cabi.org
  5. Dobson, H., Cooper, J., Manyangarirwa, W., Karuma, J., Chiimba, W. (2002). Integrated Vegetable Pest Management. Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. ISBN: 0-85954-536-9
  6. East African Seed Co. Ltd. Africa's Best Grower^s Guide www.easeed.com&nbsp;
  7. Nega, E., Ulrich, R. Werner, S. und Jahn, M. (2003). Hot water treatment of vegetable seed - an alternative seed treatment method to control seed borne pathogens in organic farming. Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection 110(3):. 220-234. www.orgprints.org
  8. Nutrition Data www.nutritiondata.com.&nbsp;
  9. OISAT: Organisation for Non-Chemical Pest Management in the Tropics www.oisat.org&nbsp;
  10. Varela, A.M., Seif, A. A., Lohr, B. (2003). A Guide to IPM in Brassicas Production in Eastern and Southern Africa. ICIPE Science Press, Nairobi. ISBN: 92 9064 148 7
  11. Poveda, J., Zabalgogeazcoa, I., Soengas, P., Rodríguez, V. M., Cartea, M. E., Abilleira, R., & Velasco, P. (2020). Brassica oleracea var. acephala (kale) improvement by biological activity of root endophytic fungi. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 20224.
  12. Okamoto, T., Wei, X., Mehraj, H., Hossain, M. R., Akter, A., Miyaji, N., .. & Watanabe, M. (2021). Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa L. var. pekinensis) Breeding: Application of Molecular Technology. Advances in Plant Breeding Strategies: Vegetable Crops: Volume 10: Leaves, Flowerheads, Green Pods, Mushrooms and Truffles, 59-94.
  13. Tjeertes, P., 2004. Brassica oleracea L. (cauliflower and broccoli) [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 30 June 2023.
  14. PlantVillage. (n.d.). Broccoli. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://plantvillage.psu.edu/topics/broccoli/infos
  15. Kubala, J. (2017). 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Cabbage. Healthline. Healthline Media, November, 4.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cabbage
  16. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/purple-cabbage
  17. Moreb, N., Murphy, A., Jaiswal, S., & Jaiswal, A. K. (2020). Cabbage. Nutritional Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Fruits and Vegetables, 33-54.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780128127803000039
  18. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/ss/slideshow-cabbage-benefits
  19. Adelanwa, E. B., & Medugu, J. M. (2015). Variation in the nutrient composition of red and. Journal of Applied Agricultural Research, 7, 183-189.https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Esther-Adelanwa-2/publication/320058505_VARIATION_IN_THE_NUTRIENT_COMPOSITION_OF_RED_AND_GREEN_CABBAGE_Brassica_oleracea_WITH_RESPECT_TO_AGE_AT_HARVEST/links/59cb89bc0f7e9bbfdc3b384e/VARIATION-IN-THE-NUTRIENT-COMPOSITION-OF-RED-AND-GREEN-CABBAGE-Brassica-oleracea-WITH-RESPECT-TO-AGE-AT-HARVEST.pdf

Information source links 

  1. https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Red_Russian_Kale_5959.php
  2. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/brassica-oleracea-acephala-group/
  3. https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Broccoli_784.php
  4. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/02/19/1987215/0/en/Worldwide-Market-Insights-for-Cabbage-and-Other-Brassicas-2007-2025.html
  5. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cabbage.html
  6. AVRDC Training Center: Cabbage www.avrdc.org
  7. CAB International (2005). Crop Protection Compendium, 2005 edition. Wallingford, UK www.cabi.org
  8. Dobson, H., Cooper, J., Manyangarirwa, W., Karuma, J., Chiimba, W. (2002). Integrated Vegetable Pest Management. Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. ISBN: 0-85954-536-9
  9. East African Seed Co. Ltd. Africa's Best Grower^s Guide www.easeed.com 
  10. Nega, E., Ulrich, R. Werner, S. und Jahn, M. (2003). Hot water treatment of vegetable seed - an alternative seed treatment method to control seed borne pathogens in organic farming. Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection 110(3):. 220-234. www.orgprints.org
  11. Nutrition Data www.nutritiondata.com
  12. OISAT: Organisation for Non-Chemical Pest Management in the Tropics www.oisat.org 
  13. Varela, A.M., Seif, A. A., Löhr, B. (2003). A Guide to IPM in Brassicas Production in Eastern and Southern Africa. ICIPE Science Press, Nairobi. ISBN: 92 9064 148 7

Review Process

Patrick Maundu, James Kioko, Charei Munene, Monique Hunziker, March 2024.

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