Types of Cabbage You Can Try Growing
There are many different types of cabbage you can choose from, so it’s important to select the right one for your garden. Some of the most popular varieties include:
- Green cabbage (cannonball cabbage): Tight, round head with dark green leaves.
- Red cabbage: Round or oval head with reddish-purple leaves; rich in vitamin K.
- Savoy cabbage: Loose, crinkly leaves with a mild flavor.
- Bok choy (Chinese cabbage): Long, white stalks with dark green leaves; often used in Asian cuisine.
Do you already have a variety of cabbage in mind? Read on to learn how to grow cabbage plants of all types.
When and Where to Plant Cabbage
One of the best things about cabbage is that it’s a cool-weather crop, which means you can plant it in the spring or fall. There are spring, summer and fall cabbages, so consult the seed packet or plant tag to see how long your particular variety takes to mature.
If you want to harvest your spring cabbage in the summer, start it indoors 6–8 weeks before the last frost date. Fall cabbage should be planted 6–8 weeks before the first frost so that it has time to grow before the ground freezes.
When it comes to finding the perfect spot for your cabbage patch, look for an area of your garden that gets full sun (at least 6 hours of sunlight per day). Cabbage also grows best in moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Well-rotted organic matter or compost can be worked into the soil to improve drainage.
How to Grow Cabbage From Seed
If you’re starting your cabbage plants from seed, sow the seeds indoors in late winter or early spring. Fill a seed-starting tray with moistened potting mix and sow the seeds ¼ inch deep. Place the tray in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist. The seeds should germinate in about a week.
When the seedlings are big enough to handle, harden them off for a week. This can be done by placing them outside in a shady spot for 2 hours the first day, 4 hours the next day, etc. This will help them adjust to the outdoors before you plant them in the garden.
On a cloudy afternoon, 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost date, transplant the seedlings outdoors. Be sure to space them 12 to 24 inches apart so that they have room to grow. The bigger you want the cabbage heads to grow, the more space you’ll need to give them.
Water the seedlings deeply after transplanting and keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. 2 inches per square foot per week are necessary, so be sure to check the soil often. You can tell if it’s time to water by sticking your finger into the ground – if it feels dry more than an inch below the surface, it’s time to give your plants a drink.
Cabbage is a heavy feeder, so it’s important to fertilize your plants regularly. 2 weeks after transplanting, apply a dose of balanced fertilizer. 3 weeks later, add some nitrogen-rich fertilizer like composted manure.
Now you know how to grow cabbage from seed! Read on for additional information.
How to Prevent Cabbage Heads From Splitting
One of the most common problems with cabbage is that the heads can split open. This happens when the plants absorb too much water in a short time.
To prevent cabbage heads from splitting, water your plants regularly and evenly. When the heads are moderately firm, prune the roots by pulling the head slightly up or twisting it by 90 degrees. This will break off a few roots and reduce the amount of moisture the plant takes in.
How Long Does Cabbage Take to Grow?
It takes about 4–6 months for cabbage to mature. However, this can vary depending on the type of cabbage and the climate. How long does cabbage take to grow if you sow the seeds directly in the garden? About 3 weeks longer than transplants.
Now you know how to grow cabbage. Enjoy your new patch!