Cabbage is one of the oldest recorded vegetables, dating back to 2000 years B.C. It is a very hearty annual garden vegetable (you can often grow it year round!). The leaves and head are either green or purple, depending upon the variety grown.
Gardening Tip for Growing Cabbage – For the best success in growing cabbage, encourage quick growth. Plant in a sunny area, and fertilize well.
Avoid growing cabbage near strawberries, pole beans, tomatoes, or dill.
Chromium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, K, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, vitamin A, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium
Growing cabbage can be done in a wide range of garden climates, but it grows best in cool weather. Cabbage will tolerate frost, but not extremely hot temperatures.
Growing cabbage works best in sunny well-drained garden soils enriched with compost or a nitrogen/potash rich fertilizer. Cabbage prefers soils with a pH level of at least 5.5.
Plan to grow cabbages rapidly: the more fertile your soil, the faster the cabbage grows (producing better quality cabbage).
While cabbage needs to be kept well watered, frequent watering can leach the nutrients from the soil. Keeping the garden bed well mulched and applying nitrogen fertilizer ever few weeks provides optimal conditions for growing cabbage.
Gardening Tip for Growing Cabbage – Weed only the surface, so that you don’t damage the roots.
Plant in summer and spring, in cool zones. Plant year round in other climates.
Sow seeds indoors ¼” deep, 3” apart in seed beds. Transplant into garden beds when seedlings have 4-5 true leaves showing. Plant seedlings deeply, up to the first leaves, 2′ apart in rows 3′ apart (or follow the spacing for your variety).
Harden off the seedlings a couple of days just before transplanting.
For best results when growing cabbage, keep the topsoil moist at all times. If you have dry weather, water thoroughly once a week.
Gardening Tip for Growing Cabbage – Avoid having the cabbage heads split by watering regularly during dry spells.
Fertilize every few weeks during the growing season to encourage rapid growth.
A variety of caterpillars find cabbage leaves tasty (cabbage moth, white butterfly, center grub, corn ear worm). Downy mildew and magnesium deficiency are common cabbage diseases. Also, slugs are fond of cabbages.
Gardening Tip for Growing Cabbage – Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.
It takes nearly 14 to 16 weeks when growing cabbage for the heads to reach a harvestable size. Harvest when the head is firm. Cut the head from the stem, leaving the outer leaves attached to the stem. Handle the cabbage heads carefully to avoid bruising, and remove any damaged leaves.
Note: You may notice smaller cabbage heads sprout from the same plant that you’ve already harvested from.
Leave late varieties in the garden as long as the weather will allow, but avoid heavy freezes.
If you’re in an area where the ground does not freeze, you can dig a trench for storing your cabbages. Place the cabbage plants in the trench, so that the roots are at the bottom of the trench, and the stem is at an angle of 45 degrees. Then place straw or soil over them – just enough to keep the frost off the plants. Make sure the trench allows drainage, so that it doesn’t hold water and rot your plants.
In temperatures above freezing, cabbages store well hung by their stems from the ceiling/rafters (such as in your garage or a shed). Or you can store them in a cool cellar.