How to Plant and Grow Cabbage in Your Vegetable Garden
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How to Plant and Grow Cabbage in Your Vegetable Garden

Here at Backyard Boss, we truly value fresh and organic food.  Growing cabbage in your vegetable garden is easy and only follows a few steps. It starts with choosing the right seeds and caring for them properly.  If you are new to growing food, check our vegetable gardening tips for beginners. We love this cool-season crop because it provides many health benefits and when cooked as part of a dish, it makes a great meal.

Growing up in Poland, cabbage is used in many popular dishes. There are numerous delicious recipes that my mom and my grandma have been cooking for me my whole life. My favorites are most definitely Bigos and Golabki, and I sincerely recommend you to try them!

What You Need To Grow Cabbage

  • good quality soil
  • planting trays
  • cabbage seeds
  • sunny spot
  • watering vessel 
  • gloves
  • shovel
  • garden hoe
  • fertilizer

HOW TO GROW CABBAGES 

Cabbage is generally easy to grow because it’s such a robust vegetable packed with nutrients. To succeed, you just need to know when to plant it and what conditions it likes the most. In this step-by-step guide, I’m going to share this information with you, so you can start growing your cabbage as soon as possible.

Step one: Choosing the date for sowing

garden gloves and calendar
Image Credits: Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

All groups of cabbages are grown in the same way. Depending on the cabbage, you will have to sow it at different times. 

  • Summer cabbages. Sow them from late February or early March until the beginning of May and transplant them at the turn of May and June.
  • Winter cabbages. Sow them from Late April or early May and transplant them at the turn of June and July.
  • Spring cabbages. Sow them from late July or early August and transplant them at the turn of September and October.

 

You can plant your cabbage directly in the soil. However, if you only want a few cabbages or don’t have enough space, it’s recommended to sow them in trays and transplant them later.

Step two: Sowing the cabbage

Planting small plants into the trays
Image Credits: Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash

To sow them into the trails, first of all, read the seed packet to make sure how many days they need to mature. Once you know that, plant three or four seeds per cell about one inch deep. 

Cabbage needs a lot of sunlight, so put them on a sunny windowsill. Later you can take them outside and expose them to the sun for a couple of hours every day. Remember to water it regularly with a gentle amount of water.

Step three: Transplanting the cabbage

Growing a cabbage in the soil
Image Credits: Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

The moment your cabbage plants have from five to six true leaves, you can transplant them outside. Depending on the cabbage, spacing requirements will vary. 

  • Spring cabbages. They need to be planted 9 inches apart, with 12 inches between rows.
  • Summer cabbages. They need to be planted 15 inches apart, with 12 inches between rows.
  • Winter cabbages. They need to be planted 18 inches apart, with 24 inches between rows. 

 

You want to plant your cabbage in a sunny spot. They should get six to eight hours of full sun each day. The soil should be moist, alkaline, and contain a lot of well-rotted organic matter. A good example is garden compost. In case your soil is acidic, take a pH test and add some lime. It will allow your cabbage to grow better and prevent the fungal disease clubroot.

Cabbage needs to be watered regularly and evenly to prevent the cabbage heads from splitting. Mulch is recommended to help the soil retain its moisture and to keep it cool. 

Step Four: Taking care of the cabbage

Growing many cabbages next to each other
Image Credits: Soo Ann Woon on Unsplash

During prolonged dry spells, soak the cabbage every ten days. The moment cabbage heads begin to form, start watering them generously to increase their size. You want your soil to have a temperature around 60-65° F. If the temperature starts to decrease, make sure to cover the plants. If you’re growing summer or winter cabbage, feed it with a high-nitrogen fertilizer before they get too big.

Step Five: Harvesting the cabbage

Cabbage ready to be harvested
Image Credits: Arnaldo Aldana on Unsplash

Depending on the cabbage, it’s ready to be harvested at different times. However, most of them require around 50 to 60 days from the moment you transplant them. You want to harvest them when their heads are fully formed. Take into consideration that if you grow them for too long, they can split. 

While harvesting, you can either remove the entire plant or cut off the head at its base. If you decide to cut off the head, just remember to leave the wide, outer leaves and roots in the ground if you want to use them for the next harvest. 

Step six: Storing the cabbage

storing many cabbages
Image Credits: Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

The good news is that you can store your cabbage for a long time. Just leave it in a root cellar where the temperature is between 45 degrees and freezing. It can stay in these conditions for up to a few months. Thanks to that, you can enjoy it long after you’ve harvested it.

Solutions for common problems with growing cabbages

Green and white caterpillar on green leaves
Image Credits: Jonah Brown on Unsplash

Insects love cabbage just as much as we do, but they can cause a lot of damage. We recommend neem oil – check out the common insects and some other solutions:

Cabbage Root Fly

Those larvas are about 2 inches long. You can spot them lying down on the roots below the soil surface. They are stunting the cabbage growth, which leads to its death.

Solution: Grow your cabbage under the insect-proof mesh to avoid these larvas.

Caterpillars

If you see the holes in the leaves, it means that you have a problem with caterpillars. The one that damages the cabbage most often are white butterflies. Sometimes they got deep into the heart of the cabbage.

Solution: If you don’t have too many plants, you can try to pick the caterpillars off by yourself. However, an insect-proof mesh is a good way to prevent them from laying eggs.

Club Root

It can happen that your roots will become swollen and distorted. Your leaves can also change their color to pale and yellow. Both of these situations can lead to the death of your plants.

Solution: This can be fixed by improving the drainage. You can also add lime to make your soil more alkaline.

Slugs and snails

It’s a common problem among many plants. They’re feeding with young seedlings, making your plants weak. As a consequence, it may lead to their destruction.

Solution: To get rid of this problem, try to use beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape, or biocontrols.

TYPES OF CABBAGES

There are many different cabbages, and they all vary a lot. They come in various shapes and colors. You can use them to make tasty dishes, salads, or soups. In this article, I want to show you five types of cabbages that I consume most often. I’ll also share with you my favorite recipes for each cabbage. 

Green Cabbage

Green cabbage with leaves
Image Credits: Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

That’s a very general term for a group of cabbages that have soft, leafy green leaves. They can have different shapes and sizes. You can find cabbages that are small and rounded or long and pointed. They are rich in Vitamin C and have various tastes. 

Recommended recipe with green cabbage: Sauteed Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage with leaves
Image Credits: Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

The other name is curly cabbage due to the unique shape of its leaves. Those leaves are ruffled, lacy, and deeply ridged. They’re also tender and crisp. Although many recipes use savoy cabbage, you can eat the leaves raw as a fresh and crunchy wrap.

Recommended recipe with savoy cabbage: Butter-Braised Cabbage

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage
Image Credits: Daniel Dan outsideclick from Pixabay

Although the color is different, red cabbage resembles green cabbage a lot. It’s a bit smaller, but their leaves and heads are very similar. It tastes delicious cooked, raw, or pickled. It has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It gets a bit blue when it’s cooked.

Recommended recipe with red cabbage: Pickled Red Cabbage

Napa Cabbage

beijing cabbage cut in half
Image Credits: Daniel Dan outsideclick from Pixabay

It’s also known as Chinese or celery cabbage. It’s got its name because it’s the most widely grown vegetable in China, and you can find it in numerous Asian recipes. It’s long and has a pointed shape. It’s got a white stalk and long, pale green, thickly veined leaves. 

Recommended recipe with napa cabbage: Kimchi

Bok Choy

Bok Choy cabbage
Image Credits: Christina Rumpf on Unsplash

It’s a leafy green member of the Chinese cabbage group. It doesn’t have a head, but it has long and thick stalks. It is similar to Swiss chard but with more pale and green leaves. You can find it very often in stir-frys. It can be cooked as a whole, as well as separated.  

Recommended recipe with bok choy: Stir-Fried Bok Choy

CONCLUSION

There are many reasons to plant and grow cabbage in your vegetable garden. First of all, compared to many other plants, it’s easy to grow. It doesn’t require ideal conditions, and you can plant it all year long. Secondly, it’s very tasty, and there are various delicious dishes that you can make with it. Last but not least, it’s super healthy and contains a lot of vitamins. So do not hesitate and try to plant and grow it on your own to enjoy its various positive aspects. 

Let us know in the comment section below about your cabbage plantation, and tell us which recipe is your favorite!

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