Growing Cabbage

Cabbage is a great plant for your home vegetable garden. It is easy to grow in a home garden, and, once harvested, can be enjoyed in numerous dishes.

Cabbage is a cool-weather crop that can tolerate frost but not heat. If the plants are cold for too long, or if the weather is too warm, the plants will bolt (go to seed without forming a head). If the head has already formed, it will split in hot weather. Splitting happens when the plant takes up water so fast the excess cannot escape through the tightly overlapped leaves, and the head bursts.

Illustration of row of cabbage
Cabbage is a great choice for home vegetable gardens.

Cabbage likes fertile, well-drained soil with a pH in the 6.5 to 7.5 range. Cabbages are usually grown from transplants. Where there's a long cool period, seed can be sown directly in the garden in the fall for winter harvest. Plant transplants that are four to six weeks old; plant two to three weeks before the average date of the last frost.

Harvesting Cabbage

Cabbages mature in 60 to l05 days from transplants. To harvest, cut off the head, leaving the outer leaves on the stem.

Types of Cabbage

There are hundreds of varieties of cabbage, with green cabbage being the most familiar. Below are four of the most common varieties of cabbage.
  • Earliana, harvest at 60 days from transplants, is a small, compact early variety.
  • Early Jersey Wakefield, harvest at 63 days, produces heads that are full-sized, pointed, and with a sweet flavor.
  • Ruby Ball, harvest at 68 days, produces purple heads that are four to six pounds; it is an All America Selection.
  • Cairo, harvest at 85 days, is an excellent red that is disease resistant.
Selecting cabbage is important to enjoying it in your favorite recipes. Keep reading to learn how to select and prepare cabbage.

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