Cabbage is an iconic vegetable that has been a staple in the human diet for centuries. Learn how to cultivate the cabbage you want to grow in your backyard.
There’s something so uplifting about the rows of cabbage that grow in a garden that is in fall. These round leaves are gorgeous to see and are good for your health, too. Cabbage is rich in Vitamin C than oranges. It is also an excellent food source for antioxidants. It also contains beta carotene minerals and fiber.
Cabbage is a cold-weather crop which is best cultivated from the late summer and fall seasons in most climates, once the summer heat is over. Cabbage doesn’t stand up to the heat and will eventually turn brown (go to seeds) when temperatures exceed 80 degrees.
Cabbage is a good choice to plant in the spring time in mild climates. In northern climates, it is possible to cultivate cabbage throughout the summer by re-seeding it so that you can harvest your heads throughout the year. It’s a moderately fast growing vegetable and matures between 60 and 90 days after the planting.
Here’s how to grow your own cabbage and how you can harvest it from your backyard garden.
Cabbage can be considered a biennial however, most people cultivate it in the form of an annual. It’s part of the Brassica Genus, together with broccoli, cauliflower as well as Kale.
There are three main varieties of round-headed cabbage
- Green Cabbageis the most widely grown variety which is a variety of cabbage that can be utilized in everything including soups to stir fries to salads.
- The red Cabbagelooks similar to green cabbage but is actually magenta. It’s generally sweeter than green and is often used raw for salads and slaws, salads and as a garnish on fish tacos, among other dishes. It is possible to cook red cabbage but it changes to strange blue.
- Savoy Cabbage,also called curly cabbage is a pretty plant with curly leaves. It’s more delicate than other varieties , and is frequently used in salads, wraps or stir-fries.
Cabbage is extremely cold-tolerant, with some varieties being able to endure cold temperatures. It’s well-liked by northern gardeners as it will continue to grow even through the darkest winter days. It is best to plant directly into the ground or plant it in the garden at the end of winter or early spring in colder climates and later in the summer months in warmer climates, for the fall/winter harvest.
Cabbage was first grown in China over 4000 years ago. The varieties of cabbage were grown in the ancient times of Egypt, Greece, and Rome as well, however, they were not headless, leafy varieties that resembled their kale relatives. The first round-headed cabbages were cultivated in the 14th century England and during it was the Middle Ages cabbage was a staple in European culinary traditions. Round-headed cabbage was introduced to the Americas during the 16th century, along with French explorators.
Bet you thought that the Irish have brought the cabbage culture to America Didn’t you?
Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea
Common Name: Cabbage, Head Cabbage
Bloom Time Early spring
Genus: It is a biennial plant, however it can be used as an annual plant
Hardiness Zones: 2 to 11
You can plant cabbage seeds or purchase transplants from the nursery. To start seeds, plant your cabbage indoors 6-8 weeks prior to the date of your last frost and move the plants outdoors once the soil for your garden is suitable. Transplants, whether your own or those from an nursery — are able to be able to withstand a few frosts.
Pick a location where there is sunlight. Cabbage needs at least six hours of sun every day. Because cabbage doesn’t produce flowers or fruit, it is able to manage some shade and get shade even in hot areas.
Remove the soil and amend with organic matter prior to planting. Cabbage requires rich, well-drained soil that has been amended by organic matter like compost.
Place plants between 1 and 2 feet away. Allow your cabbage plants space to form heads.
Caring for Cabbage
Regularly water cabbage,giving each plant 1.5 inches of water each week when there’s no rain. A lack of moisture can cause small heads that don’t fill with leaves.
Make sure the soil is moist by mulching. This can protect roots from extreme temperatures, as well.
Cabbage can withstand frigid temperatures. It is able to endure frost that are as low as 20°.
Fertilize your garden with compost each 2 to 4 months. Cabbages can be heavy feeders. They’ll appreciate your assistance to keep their soil rich and nutritious all through the growing season.
Planting companion plants. It’s beneficial to plant the cabbage next to onions, carrots and even herbs like oregano and rosemary, because these plants and vegetables are fragrant and hide the taste of the cabbage and makes it more difficult for pests that eat cabbage to locate the cabbage.
How to Harvest Cabbage
The majority of kinds of cabbages are ready for harvesting after two monthsafter the time of transplants being distributed.
Harvest cabbage once the head is completely developed and firm to the contact. You can cut off the entire plant, or cut the head off at the base and leave the roots and leaves in the soil for another collection of heads that are smaller.
It is possible to store vegetables for several months within the root cellar where temperatures range between 45 and freezing. It is possible to keep cabbages in the freezer as well.
Pests and Diseases
Cabbage is a target for numerous bugs and diseases, including the following:
Cabbage Worms and loopers in cabbage Loopers in cabbage and cabbage chew into the cabbage leaves. They’re cabbage’s two main enemies. Take them off as soon as you spot them.
Slugs like to attack cabbages, too. Remove them whenever you spot them.
Aphidswill take the sap from cabbage leaves. Spray them with insecticidal soap to remove the pests.
clubroot, blackleg, black rot and fusarium wilt are all fungal diseases that can infect the cabbage. Blackleg leaves dark spots on the leaves and stems, black rot makes the veins dark and smelly Clubroot swells roots, reduces the growth of plants, and leaves you with stunted, yellowing heads. If your cabbages are infected with a infection, there’s nothing that you could do to help the plants from being destroyed. The best way to avoid this is by choosing varieties resistant to disease changing your cabbages so that there is no chance for fungi to establish themselves in the soil, and clearing all debris from your garden during the seasons. Dead leaves may contain the spores of fungus.
Recommended Cabbage Varieties
“Early Jersey Wakefield” is an old-fashioned cultivar which is an adaptation of an ancient English cabbage, and was cultivated throughout US landscapes since around 1840. It is a large, dense heads that weigh up to 4 pounds each , with the sweet taste. It’s a classic.
“Earliana” is another heirloom one that matures early and is ready for harvesting just 60 days after the seeds were planted.
“Brunswick” is an German family heirloom dating back from the 1800s. It produces massive, with 7to 9-pound heads. It’s extremely hardy to cold which means it is able to be stored for a lengthy duration. It’s typically utilized as a component of sauerkraut.
“Charleston Wakefield” is a heirloom that’s resistant to heat and can be cultivated in most areas in the US. It has large heads of dark green that weigh anywhere from 4 to 6 pounds.
“Mammoth Rock” is an ancient red heirloom dating back up to 19th-century. It develops huge, 8-pound head.
“Savoy Perfection” is a savoy version with leaves that are crinkled