Zimbabwean cabbage Lunaria: Big, bold and beautiful

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The new cabbage variety Lunaria is a rising star in the Zimbabwean brassica world.

It is a large, round, hybrid cabbage with black rot resistance for summer production. Adaptable to harsh summer temperatures, it has proved a reliable choice. In cooler areas it can take up to 95 days to mature.

Two progressive Zimbabwean farmers, Mr Joel G. Chitondo of Chiredzi and Mr Samuel G. Humanikwa of Nyazura, have grown Lunaria and reported excellent results.

Mr. Chitondo, working with Charter Seeds agronomist Edson Toziva, transplanted 15,000 Lunaria seedlings on 3 June 2023. In the warm winter conditions of the Zimbabwe Lowveld, the crops showed strong vegetative growth and quickly developed a large frame and beautiful, round, solid heads. The crop was harvested after 80 days on 22 August 2023. Lunaria is known to have very good holdability in the field, but this feature was not needed by Mr. Chitondo as he achieved a 90% first cut, and his customers were waiting!

The large, solid heads were much appreciated by the Chiredzi market and sold quickly. Head uniformity was excellent, and heads averaged 9.6 kg each.

This uniformity reported from Chiredzi was also seen in a second excellent crop grown by Mr. Humanikwa near Nyazura. The crop's precision and absolute attention to detail can be seen in the photographs.

He planted 8,500 Lunaria seedlings on 15 August 2023 and started harvesting 74 days after transplant. Head size averaged 5 – 6 kg, and the Nyazura, Mutare, Murambinda and Rusape markets had buyers from as far away as Mocambique.

The smaller heads of the Nyazura crop compared to the Chiredzi crop could be due to the lower fertility of the Nyazura soils coupled with slightly early harvesting to satisfy customer demand.

It is noteworthy that in the rising temperatures going into a Zimbabwean summer, both crops were selling well before 90 days, which is the more normal maturity period at this time. Zimbabwe warmed up early and quickly after winter 2023.

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