How to Grow Cabbage
Growing Cabbage In Your Backyard or Garden
When planning your annual vegetable garden, don't forget the cabbage! Cabbage is a great choice for anyone's garden. Did you know that cabbage contains more vitamin C than an orange? In addition, it is a good source of beta carotene and fiber plus it provides a large portion of your daily minerals, including magnesium, calcium and potassium. Here are a few tips from the experts at Southern States on how to grow cabbages in your garden.
What type of cabbage should you grow? There are three main varieties of cabbages. Green cabbage is the most commonly grown. Different varieties of green cabbage can have slight variations in size and color. Red cabbage has deep purple-red leaves and is often used in salads to add color. Savoy cabbage has ruffly leaves that are thinner and more tender than those of the other varieties and it is typically grown for salads.
Cabbages should be grown in the spring or fall with cooler temperatures around 60°F. It is an easy vegetable to grow as long as it gets plenty of sunshine and water. Cabbages can be grown in the ground, in raised beds or even in containers. Grow this vegetable in rich, well-drained soil with a 6.0 – 6.5 pH range.
You can start cabbage seeds indoors about six weeks before moving them outside to their permanent spot in the garden. They should be about 4" tall when transplanted outside. Plant your small cabbage plants 15-18" apart in rows 32-36" apart. Fall season cabbages grow bigger, so you should plant them 24" apart with rows 36" apart. Soak the root ball thoroughly prior to transplanting and use an organic starter fertilizer. Mulch around the plants to protect their shallow root systems. You can also sow cabbage seeds directly into the ground about ¼ - ½" deep. Use the guidelines above for spacing. If planting seeds, the ideal soil temperature should be 70-80°F for optimal germination in 4-7 days.
It's a good idea to plant your cabbages near onions, carrots and any herbs such as thyme, dill, rosemary and oregano. These vegetables and herbs emit an aroma that disguises the scent of cabbages, making it more difficult for pests to find them. Although easy to grow, cabbage plants are susceptible to certain garden diseases and pests. Common problems to look for include: club root, yellows or fusarium wilt, blackrot, aphids, cutworms and cabbage worms. Crop rotation, proper soil care and the use of row covers in the early part of the growing season can help ensure a good harvest. Talk to your Southern States expert about other ways to prevent or eliminate pests and diseases on your cabbage crop.
Cabbages will mature and be ready to harvest 60 - 90 days after germination depending on the variety and time of year planted. Cabbage heads are ready to harvest any time after the head develops. They should be firm and the interior should be dense. If left on the plant to over-ripen, the cabbage head will split. To remove, simply cut the cabbage head from the stem. Store in a cool location.
For all of your gardening questions, rely on the experts at your local Southern States.