This fresh market variety is widely adaptable and carries fusarium yellows resistance, intermediate resistance to black rot and tolerance to tip burn. The 3 to 4 lb. blue-green heads are produced on an upright plant, have attractive blue-green wrapper leaves and an excellent interior that has a pleasing texture and sweet taste. Early Thunder has shown excellent field holding ability and bolting tolerance in plantings throughout the US.
TO START INDOORS Start seeds 4 to 5 weeks before last spring frost. Sow 1 inch apart in seed starting mix, cover 1/2 inch deep and keep evenly moist. Provide a strong light source until seedlings are ready to plant out. When several inches tall, transplant seedlings 10 inches apart into rich soil in full sun, after gradually acclimating to outdoor conditions.
TO START DIRECTLY OUTDOORS When all danger of frost is over, plant in well-worked, fertile soil in full sun. Sow groups of 2 to 3 seeds 10 inches apart in rows spaced 1 foot apart. When seedlings are several inches tall, thin to 1 strong plant every 10 inches. In mild winter climates, sow seeds again at midsummer for a fall crop.
GROWING NOTES Cabbage needs full sun and rich, well-drained soil to produce firm, sweet heads. To avoid stunting growth, don’t let seedlings get crowded before thinning or transplanting. Keep weeded and evenly watered. Feed monthly with fish emulsion or an all-purpose fertilizer. Use non-toxic B.T. (Bacillus thuringiensis) for caterpillar pests. Floating row covers provide a good barrier method to exclude pests. Remove covers when heads begin to form.
HARVEST AND USE Cut the 5 to 6 inch heads when they are very solid and well-formed. Enjoy raw as a snack, in coleslaw or quickly stir-fry, sauté, or steam. Fresh dill is delicious with cabbage.