Growing Cabbage is Easy

I began growing cabbage when I had a larger garden and I wish I had planted cabbage sooner.

I found cabbage to be one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

You can plant a long row or just a couple of plants.

The early varieties are ready in 60 to 70 days with later varieties maturing up to 100 days.

My grandson’s school taught how to grow cabbage and sent cabbage plants home for the children to grow.

He planted his cabbage out in the back yard. Without prepping the soil he planted the cabbage when the snow melted.

Here is a picture of his growing cabbage. This is a testament to how hardy and easy cabbage is to grow.

Cabbages grown in the back yard garden are more flavorful than store bought ones. Cabbage has a reputation for being a strong flavored vegetable.

The strong flavor is brought out when the sulfur breaks down with over cooking in too much water and at to high of heat. Properly cooked cabbage has a mild sweet flavor.

Growing Cabbage Varieties

Cabbage comes in hundreds of varieties. I have listed some varieties that are favorites in various maturity dates.

Early Cabbages

Golden Acer- matures in 65 days with round head, easy to grow 6-7 inch heads good raw and in cooked dishes

Red Express Cabbage-63 days to maturity. Early red cabbage with 2-4 pound heads. Good for small space gardens.

Baby Cabbage -71 days to maturity. Great flavor midsize flat heads.

Copenhagen Market- 65-75 days to maturity. Ball-head type heirloom cabbage, yeilds 4-5 pound heads.

Late Season
Danish Ballhead- 110 days to maturity. Reliable resistant to splitting and bolting. 5-7 pound heads.

Red Cabbage
Red Acer-75 days to maturity. Resistant to yellowing and great for small gardens. 3 pound heads.

Savoy Cabbage
Drumhead Savoy- 92 days to maturity. Wrinkled leaves with a mild sweet flavor.

Savoy-90 days to maturity. Great cooking cabbage dating back to medieval Italy.

Start your cabbage indoors 10 weeks before the last hard frost in your area. Cabbage plants are hardy and transplant very well. You can buy plants from your local nursery in the early spring.

Growing your own gives you a wider variety. It may be hard to find Savoy or Chinese varieties from your local nursery.

Sow seeds for growing cabbage in small peat pots, plastic cups or trays with your favorite potting mix. Sprinkle seeds into our container and cover with a light dusting of soil and water. Place in a warm spot.

Cabbage seeds germinated in 7-12 days depending on temperature. When seeds sprout place in a sunny window or under your indoor lights. Keep plants in a cool room where night temps are between 50 to 60 degrees F.

Planting Cabbage

Prepare your garden soil as soon as the soil is dried enough in the spring to work. In our area of northern Utah that’s around March15 thru April 15. Till the ground and add compost.

Cabbage can be grown in single rows or staggered in wide rows. Make single rows 12-18 inches wide and 16-18 inches between rows. Make double rows 24 to 36 inches wide and 16-18 inches between rows.

Plants need to be hardened off before planting out doors. Harding off refers to slowly getting the plants adjusted to the out doors with out causing shock. Shock can cause plants to die.

To harden off you transplants, slowly over a couple of weeks place your plants outside on a partly shaded area. Bring them back in at night. Do this for the first week. The second week, leave them outside over night one day and bring in side the next day.

If you have a cold frame, you can start your plants inside and harden them off in your cold frame.

After a few weeks you can plant them outside in their rows. Plant early cabbage plants 12-18 inches apart. Dig a small hole and place plant inside up to the first leaf axial. If you have problems with cutworms, place a paper collar around the plant stem at this time.

Late cabbages for a fall harvest should be planted no later than Aug. 1 in the northern states. Growing cabbages for fall need more room. Plant them 18 inches apart.

Soil for cabbage must be kept moist to develop nice firm heads. Mulch around the plants. This helps with moisture retention and weed control. In dry areas or if rain fails, water with two good soakings a week. If the soil dries out between watering, the cabbage heads can crack and split.

Growing cabbage needs nitrogen to maintain its growth. Side dress your cabbage plants with a good garden fertilizer 2 to 3 weeks after plants are set out.

Harvesting your Growing Cabbage

Pick your early cabbage before it gets old. Pick as you need it. Cut off the cabbage head at the base of the plant just above the large leaves. I dig up the plant after I cut off the heads.

Cabbages have strong roots. Use a digging fork to loosen the roots and then pull. You can add the root part to your compost pile or give them to your back yard chickens. Chickens love to eat the stem ends of the cabbage plant.

Late cabbage improves in flavor after a light frost. Before the last hard freeze, dig your late cabbage up by the roots. Cabbage is best stored in a cool root cellar or in an outside building. Stack the cabbage, roots and all upside down on a layer of straw. Place a layer of straw a foot deep over the top of the cabbages.

Pull out cabbages as needed through out the winter. Try some of my favorite Cabbage Recipes.

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