Growing cabbage in your home garden can be a rewarding experience, but it does come with its challenges. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can grow healthy and delicious cabbage with relative ease. 

Growing Tips

  • Choose the Right Variety: There are different types of cabbage, including green, red, and savoy varieties. Choose a variety that suits your climate and preferences.
  • Planting Time: Cabbage is a cool-season crop that thrives in temperatures between 45°F and 75°F. Plant seeds or seedlings in early spring for a spring harvest or late summer for a fall harvest.
  • Sunlight and Soil: Cabbage prefers full sun and well-drained, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Amend the soil with compost or aged manure before planting to improve fertility.
  • Spacing: Cabbage plants need room to grow, so space them at least 12-18 inches apart in rows with 2-3 feet between rows. Bucket gardening won’t work for cabbage!
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply and regularly, especially during dry spells, to promote healthy growth.
  • Fertilization: Cabbage is a heavy feeder, so apply a balanced fertilizer or compost tea every few weeks to provide essential nutrients. Keep in mind your compost browns and greens for the right amount of nutrients.

Harvesting Tips

  • Timing: Cabbage is ready to harvest when the heads feel firm and solid to the touch. Most varieties take 70-100 days to mature, depending on the growing conditions and variety.
  • Cutting Technique: Use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage heads at the base of the plant, leaving a few outer leaves attached to protect the head during storage.
  • Early Harvest: If you prefer smaller heads or want to stagger your harvest, you can cut the outer leaves of the cabbage plant when they reach a usable size, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing.
  • Storage: Store harvested cabbage heads in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place for up to a few weeks. Remove any damaged or wilted leaves before storing to prevent rot.

Use It or Preserve It: Fresh cabbage can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads and slaws to soups and stir-fries. You can also preserve cabbage by fermenting it into sauerkraut or kimchi for long-term storage.

Is There a Trick to Growing Cabbage?

Cabbage Companion Plants

Carrots

Carrots are excellent companion plants for cabbage as they have different root depths, minimizing competition for nutrients. Additionally, the strong scent of carrots may deter cabbage pests like carrot rust flies.

Onions

Onions help deter cabbage pests such as aphids and cabbage worms with their pungent odor. Planting onions around cabbage can also improve soil health and deter weeds.

Dill

Dill attracts beneficial insects like predatory wasps, which prey on cabbage pests such as cabbage loopers and aphids. Planting dill near cabbage can help reduce pest infestations and improve overall plant health.

Growing cabbage requires patience and attention to detail, but the rewards are well worth the effort. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying homegrown cabbage straight from your garden. Stay tuned for more gardening tips from the experts at Food Independence.

Happy gardening!