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Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Cabbage


Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable suited to both spring and fall. Seethe Cabbage Growing Guide with instructions on how to plant and grow thispopular, leafy vegetable—which is packed with vitamins!

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable perfect for spring and fall. See our cabbage growing guide to learn how to grow and grow this hardy, vitamin-rich leafy vegetable!

Cabbage is a full-fledged feeder; it quickly depletes the soil of nutrients and requires an adequate supply of water and nutrients throughout its growth. Prepare the soil ahead of time by mixing in aged manure and/or compost. The soil should also be well-drained: roots standing in water can cause the head to split or rot.When to Plant Cabbage

· For a summer harvest, start seeds indoors, sowing about 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Consult our Planting Calendar for suggested dates.

· For a fall harvest, direct sow seeds outdoors (or plant transplants) in mid- to late summer. If your area is particularly hot and dry, hold off on planting until late summer. Make sure that the young plants don’t dry out in the summer sun’s heat!

How to Plant Cabbage

· Before planting the seedlings outdoors, harden off the plants over the course of a week.

· Transplant seedlings outdoors on a cloudy afternoon 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost date.

· Plant seedlings 12 to 24 inches apart in rows, depending on the size of head desired. (Closer spacing yields smaller heads.)


· · When the seedlings reach about 5 inches tall, thin them to allow the desired space between them. The thinned seedlings can be transplanted elsewhere if you wish.

· · Cover the area with a thick layer to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

· · Water 2 inches per square foot per week.

· · Optimal soil temperature for growth is 60 to 65°F. Seedlings exposed to temperatures below 45°F for a period of time may sprout or develop loose heads. Cover plants if cold weather is expected.

· · Fertilize with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer 2 weeks after transplant.

· · After three weeks, add nitrogen-rich fertilizer; cabbage needs nitrogen early on.

· · Rotate with cabbage to avoid accumulation of soil-borne diseases.