Cabbage Garden Guide

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Cabbage At A Glance

Cabbage Care At A Glance

  • Cool-season brassica for spring and fall crops.
  • Sow twice as many seeds as you think you need, 6-8 weeks prior to the last expected frost.
  • Different varieties and sizes are available which require specific spacing otherwise, culture is the same.
  • Require well-drained, organically rich soil with consistent moisture.

Planting Instructions

Start seeds indoors as you would other vegetables.

  • Use pre-moistened, seed starting mix free from fertilizer in trays or cell-packs.
  • Sow seeds 1/4 in. deep, place trays on consistent bottom heat of 70°-75°F, and cover the tray with a plastic dome or wrap to help retain moisture and water from the bottom as needed.
  • After emergence, uncover, remove from bottom heat, and place seedlings in bright direct sun or under grow lights with cool room temperature, maintaining adequate moisture.
  • As seedlings develop true leaves, up-pot into slightly larger containers with clean, fresh pre-moistened potting soil and water as needed.
  • If seedling growth stalls out, fertilize with 4-6-8 or 6-6-6 water-soluble food once per week, at 1/2 strength.
  • When plants are large enough, harden off for 7-10 days prior to planting out about 2 weeks prior to the last frost.
  • Start new seeds by direct sowing in mid-summer for fall crops with seeds 1/4 - 1/2 in. deep, then thin to 12-18 in. apart with 2-3 ft. between rows. Larger varieties may need more space.

Types & Variety Examples

  • Savoy - Varieties with wrinkled leaves. Heads are generally less dense than non-savoy types. Can be green or red in color. Examples: 'Alcosa' hybrid, 'Stonehead' hybrid (considered semi-savoy).
  • Pointed head - Varieties with elongated heads that are more pointed than round. Often preferred for sauerkraut, as the center (or core) is small. Example: 'Early Jersey Wakefield' OP/Heirloom.
  • Storage - Varieties developed primarily for good storage ability. Tend to mature late in the season. Example: 'Danish Ballhead' OP/Heirloom.
  • Mini - Varieties with small head sizes, generally less than 3 pounds. Example: 'Jung's Cabbage Babies Triplet' hybrid blend.
  • Chinese - Forms upright pointed heads of either tight over-lapping leaves or more loose separated leaves that can be green to yellow in color (a.k.a. Napa cabbage). Example: 'Emiko' hybrid.


  • Cabbage, like other brassicas, is a heavy feeder. Amend soil with ample organic material and blend in 1/2 to 1 cup of all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 10 ft. of a row about 4 weeks prior to seeding or planting.
  • Transplant hardened-off seedlings deep to allow roots to form on buried stems as tomato plants do.
  • Deploy poly grow tunnels after transplanting to help prevent looper moth egg laying on developing plants.
  • Rotate legumes like beans or peas with cabbage to help prevent clubroot disease. A 2-3-year rotation is often suggested. Raising soil pH to 7.0 to 7.5 helps inhibit pathogen that causes clubroot.
  • The larger the variety, the more space they require, with some like 'Megaton' needing 2 ft. between plants. For space efficiency, interplant empty spaces between large growing types with fast-maturing lettuce or radishes while cabbages are growing to size.
  • Maintain regular watering at 1 in. per week, per plant, and mulch well around plants to keep soils consistently moist. Issues can occur from too much water or from too little.