Cabbage are a rewarding vegetable to grow at home and an excellent addition to any garden. Below we share the basics of growing cabbage in a home garden, as well as common mistakes and considerations.
Cabbage are a frost tolerant vegetable. This means the best time to plant them is mid to early spring, and mid to late summer for a fall harvest. If you’re expecting a late or early frost after planting, protect your cabbage with a blanket of straw or cover them with plastic buckets.
If you live in the U.S., check out the Farmer’s Almanac or the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones for more help regarding frost and the best dates for planting in your area.
Plant your cabbage seeds directly in the soil of your garden or container at a depth of 0.5 inches (1 centimetre). Seeds can be planted outside or you can germinate them indoors and transplant them later. Typically, cabbage seeds take about 1 - 2 weeks to fully germinate.
If transplanting, the best time to move cabbage plants outside is when they reach 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 centimetres) tall or have at least 3 - 4 true leaves.
When planting cabbage in the garden, it’s best to space them 1 - 2 feet (30 - 60 centimetres) away from the nearest plant.
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The key to caring for cabbage in containers is well draining soil and a pot big enough for their root system. Aim for a pot that is roughly 577 cubic inches (9,455 cubic centimetres) in size. A typical 10 or 12 inch flower pot is a great container option for cabbage.
For more in depth information, check out our full guide on growing cabbage in containers.
On average, it takes about 75 days for planted cabbage seeds to develop into a fully mature plant.
Typically, cabbage plants reach about 1 - 2 feet (or 30 - 60 centimetres) in height. Though this can fluctuate depending on the variety.
Cabbage need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to thrive. Be careful to place your plants in an area that receives adequate sunlight. Otherwise, they may not mature properly.
Cabbage like well draining soil that is kept consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. The amount of water it takes to achieve this effect will differ depending on the type of soil available to you.
Be sure to water your cabbage on a consistent, steady schedule. This will ensure the plant yields a healthy, uniform crop.
If growing your cabbage in pots, they will need to be watered more frequently than cabbage planted directly in the garden.
You will know your cabbage are in need of more water when their leaves wilt, yellow, and/or the plant begins to droop. But be careful, this can also happen if the plant receives too much water. This is a difficult balance for most novice gardeners. But the more time you spend with your cabbage, the better you’ll be able to gauge how thirsty they are.
Cabbage are ready to pick when their heads feel solid and firm. Using a sharp knife, remove the head from the plant at it’s base.