Are you thinking about growing cabbages this season?

Cabbage is a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed in many different ways. If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy side dish that’s easy to grow and harvest, you should try growing cabbages.

In this article we are going to show you how to plant, grow and harvest beautiful cabbages every time you plant them, no matter are you growing them in garden, pot or container.

What is Cabbage?

Brassica oleracea var capitata, is an annual or biennial plant in the family Brassicaceae grew for its large green leaves, either consumed as a vegetable or used in soups and stews. The plant is produced in various climates and has a thick root system that stores starch and nutrients.

Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that grows in head, loose-leaf, or compact head form, producing large yellow flowers, and the leaves are usually heart-shaped and have a crinkled texture. The leaves are often eaten raw, but they’re also cooked. Cabbage is a member of the mustard family, including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cauliflower, watercress, and radishes.

The cabbage plant has been used as a food and medicine for thousands of years. One of the earliest written records comes from the Sumerians, who used it to prepare food and even make beer. It was a table luxury food in ancient Rome and was also widely grown in China. 

cabbage leaves

Why you Should Grow Cabbage in Your Garden?

Cabbage is an easy vegetable to grow from seed and has a long growing season which also grows well in all weather conditions, making it a good choice for farmers who want to grow their crops year-round. It is also is very popular crop culture, both in the US and worldwide. It has a mild flavor that tastes great raw, sautéed, steamed, boiled, or pickled.

The nutritional value is impressive, and it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. This vegetable is good for you as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It also contains many cancer-fighting compounds, another reason to add it to your diet. If you want to enjoy it but don’t have a garden, you can buy organic one from a farmers’ market or local farm.

How to Grow?

You can plant seeds directly in the garden or sow them in containers, which gives you more flexibility in selecting your planting dates. You can plant them in rows or a single row in the garden. There are many different cabbage varieties; some are large, round heads, and some are small, pointed heads.

Miniature heads are great for salads, while large heads are better for soups. Before planting, make sure the soil is warm and dry enough to receive the seed and that the plants have room to grow. Cabbage loves to grow under the full direct sunlight but can also tolerate shade.

When to Plant? 

Cabbages can be planted in early spring or late summer. Spring is better because of earlier maturity and higher yields. If you choose to grow in summer, keep in mind that the cabbage is a cool-weather crop, so if you live in a warm climate, add extra lime to the soil to help prevent wilting when it rains.

It is cool-season crop, meaning that you can grow it all year round in zones 4 to 8. It is most successful during cool months (in warm areas, you may get poor results during hot, dry months), but it will grow even in the middle of summer. For a winter harvest, sow seeds in late summer and early fall, planting them about 10 weeks before your first fall frost.

planting cabbage in rows

Sow Seeds

Growing cabbage from seed is simple, and the results are outstanding. Seeds can be sown in a tray, tray pot, or garden, depending on the size of your plot. Be sure to plant a best variety for your area so you can enjoy in its heads sizes between 0,5 and 3,5 kg. The distance between the rows should be at least 16 in.

Sow 2–3 seeds 1 inch deep and leave 8–10 inches between plants and keep the soil moist. You can also cover pots or trays with a dome of newspaper or plastic wrap for a few days until the seeds germinate. After germination remove the cover and give the plants enough light.

The first leaves will appear in approximately 10–14 days, and it is best to wait until after the second and third set of leaves appears before transplanting or thinning them to their permanent positions.

Soil and Watering

Cabbage prefers soil that is well-drained and has plenty of humus. That means the ground must be rich in organic matter to grow healthy and successfully beautiful heads. That can be accomplished by adding compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold to the soil. To promote organic gardening and healthy food, try to avoid using chemical fertilizers and use organic compost instead.

Cabbage thrives in soil that has a pH of between 6.4 and 7.2.

If you notice that your plant starts to look wilted just after transplanting, you may need to give them a deeper soaking. To do this, dig a 4 to 6 inches deep hole and place the plant into it. Cover it with 3 to 4 inches of soil and water well. You can also add compost to the ground to encourage better drainage.

When watering, do so at least once a day. In hot weather, you will need to water twice a day, in the morning and evening.

Avoid watering during the middle of hot summer day. Do not let your vegetable stand in standing water cause it encourages diseases and fungi developement.


Cabbage plants require at least 1 pound of nitrogen per 100 square feet for proper root growth and leaf development. If your ground soil is sandy, you’ll need to add about 6 pounds of compost per 100 square feet. When you first plant your seedlings, use a fertilizer like 10-10-10 to encourage strong root growth and healthy leaf growth.

A variety of organic fertilizers work well for growing cabbage. Organic fertilizers include aged cow manure, green or brown sugar, blood and bone, worm castings, and compost. Some farmers use bonemeal, a mineral supplement containing nitrogen. In addition, plants respond to a dose of fertilizer every week.

If you have a soil test, you should amend your soil with the same level of nutrients that you recommend for your plants. When applying fertilizer, apply it directly to the soil around the plants. Do not apply it to the leaves or stems.

cabbage in garden

Companion plants

Cabbage do well when grown with onion family members. Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, kohlrabi, melons, parsley, radishes, rutabaga, and turnips are some of the best companion plants to plant next to cabbage.

In addition to improving the soil by providing nitrogen and organic matter, the roots of these plants are rich in calcium, making them valuable to cabbage’s calcium requirements. They also deter insects that would otherwise eat our vegetable. If you’d like a sweeter flavor, try planting your veggie next to cucumbers, which help sweeten the taste.

Avoid planting beans, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries next to cabbage. They all require more calcium than the root vegetable, which could lead to problems with the roots and some will attract pests.

Common problems

Cabbage, like most members of the brassica family of vegetables, is very susceptible to problems from insects and diseases. 

The most common problem when growing cabbage is black rot. That is a fungal disease that affects the head and is very difficult to control. Big common problems are pests such as cabbage aphids, cutworms, cabbage looper, slugs and garden snails, thrips, moths and even mole crickets. You may also have to deal with problems like mold and disease if you are not using certified seed. Other pests and conditions related to are:

  • Downy and Powdery mildew
  • Ring spot
  • Beet armyworm
  • Cabbage yellows
  • Large cabbage white
  • Clubroot
  • Alternaria leaf spot
  • Anthracnose

When to Harvest?

Harvesting can be tricky, as it seems heads want to get bigger and bigger and bigger. But that means you are harvesting later in the season. It’s better to harvest smaller heads early in the season than bigger heads later. The rest of the season is left with plenty of growth and will be ready when the leaves begin to drop.

Cabbage is usually ready to harvest after 60 days, but if you let it grow even longer when the plant has stopped growing, and the leaves have turned dark green, almost black, and feel heavy for their size, it will still be good to eat.

cabbage ready to harvest


In conclusion, growing your vegetables is a great way to ensure that you eat healthily and get the best quality produce possible. I hope this article has inspired you to start growing your own. It is a super easy crop to grow and will give you fresh, nutritious food for your family and friends.

cabbage head sliced

Frequently asked questions

How long does cabbage take to grow?

Cabbage needs 10 to 25 days to grow from seed to transplants. Then takes between 60 to 100 days to grow from transplanting seed in-ground soil to harvest. To mature, cabbage directly planted in garden soil needs between 75 to 150 days.

Is cabbage a cruciferous vegetable?

Yes, cabbage is a member of the Brassicaceae family and is classified as a Cruciferous vegetable. Members of the mustard family are known for their nutritional content, including anti-cancer properties.

Will cabbage survive frost?

Yes, it will survive a light frost. Cabbage will not survive a significant frost but could stay if covered with snow or ice. If frozen, though, it may not revive. To avoid freezing it is a good idea to apply mulch around your plants.

Does cabbage regrow after cutting?

Yes, cabbage regrows after being cut. After harvesting and storing it, remove leaves from the stem. Place cut leaves in a bucket filled with water to keep it submerged. Leave the bucket out of direct sunlight. The cabbage leaves will have begun to regrow in a couple of weeks.


NYS Horticulture Study Guide For Youth – CALS.