How To Grow Cabbage

Cabbage is a versatile veggie that can be frozen, canned, eaten fresh, or turned into sauerkraut. It comes in different varieties, too, so grow green cabbage if you want to keep it traditional or try red cabbage to add color to your favorite dishes.

How To Plant Cabbage

Start: Start seeds indoors between 4 and 6 weeks from the date of the last frost. Sow the seeds 1/2 an inch deep and keep them moist until seedlings emerge. Then place them in a sunny window and gradually start moving them outside in a sheltered location until they harden off. Transplants can go in the garden as soon as they’re 3 to 4 inches tall, and space seedlings 12 to 24 inches apart in rows.

Water: Soil should be moist but not too wet—1 to 1.5 inches of rain per week is ideal.

Soil: Soil should be rich and well-drained. If the soil is sandy, then mix compost and organic matter to make it more loamy. pH 6.5 to 6.8

Light: Full sun.

Fertilize: Cabbages thrive on nitrogen, so choose fertilizers high in this ingredient.

Harvest: Cabbage can be harvested when the heads are anywhere from 4 to 10 inches in diameter. Make sure the heads are firm at the base and use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage head from the plant. If you leave the plants in the ground after harvest, cabbage plants may produce additional smaller cabbages around the stump leftover from the main head, but these will be quite small—the size of a baseball or less.

Notes: Harvest times for cabbage can vary widely depending on the variety—between 80 and 180 days if started from seed. Be sure to check the growing time for the variety you’ve selected so that you can time planting just right.

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Cabbage Recipes, Tips & Health Benefits

Sauerkraut in a bowl.

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Make Your Own Sauerkraut!

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This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Do you have a question or an idea for an article? Contact us!

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