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Jersey Cabbage

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Early wild types of cabbages grew in the warmer parts of Western Europe, including the Channel Islands. One in particular, the Jersey cabbage or Long Jacks, grows up to ten feet tall!   To cultivate a straight stem, growers would strip the leaves off as they matured and use them as nutritious food for livestock, giving rise to another common name of cow cabbage. For a time, the stems were also used as a substitute for lumber in some cases, since the German’s cut much of the timber during their occupation, and for making walking sticks. In the early twentieth century, over 30,000 a year were exported. One family still makes these fascinating objects and you can get seed from them and grow them yourself. Pet or meat rabbits enjoy the leaves so you could kill two birds with one stone. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.