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Selecting plant to save: Choose plants that have the traits you want to carry over for the following year - this may mean not eating your best heads of cabbage, in order to use them for their seeds! Alternately, you can plant specific cababge specifically for harvesting seeds. Allow selected cabbage heads to mature. They will flower and produce seed pods.
Harvest Plant: Once the pods are dry on the plant, remove plant from the ground.
Dry: Hang cauliflower to dry for about two weeks.
Extract Seeds: Remove dried pods from plant and break them open with your fingers over a bowl to catch the seeds.
Dry and Store: Dry for 1-2 weeks. Collect seeds and store. Cabbage seeds remain viable for up to 5 years.
Cabbage does best in cold climates and temperature has a significant impact on seed production. Cabbage should be planted such that the plant faces its coldest temperature when it has matured. Sow in early to mid-fall, so that maturity occurs in late fall and flowers bloom in early winter.
Cabbage is pollinated by bees, making isolation an important concern for those interested in saving seed. For instance, cabbage will easily cross with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. To preserve the integrity of your cabbage seeds separate broccoli from other members of Brassica oleracea (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, kale) by at least 1000 meters.
Cabbage does not produce flowers after heads are harvested - flowers grow out the middle of the head. Therefore, we recommend planting several plants just for seed production. In order to encourage flowering, an "X" crosscut can be made at the top of the mature cabbage head - be sure to keep the cut shallow as to not damage the growing point of the inner core.
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