Everything You Need To Know About Growing Cabbage


It is thought that cabbage was first grown by people before 1,000 B.C.E. somewhere in Europe.

It is a cool-season crop that needs rich fertile soil and plenty of water.


Cabbage is best grown in full sun with well-drained soil and a soil pH range of 6.0 through 7.0.

They can be sown straight into the soil after the last frost or as I prefer they can be started 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost indoors using a cardboard seed starting tray.

They are best planted 18 to 24 inches apart for rows, 2 to 3 inches apart, and about one-half inch deep.

For best results, it is recommended before planting or sowing them to till compost into the soil, known as amending the soil.

This will provide nutrients to the soil, helps with water retention, and will help to keep the soil loose which will make it easier for the roots to grow.


To avoid any possible issues of over-fertilizing your collards, you should test your soil before adding any fertilizers.

Cabbage is best fertilized every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or a homemade liquid fertilizer can be used.

They prefer soil that is consistently moist but not soaked and they will require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week.


Cabbage is ready for harvesting when the heads look ready and feel firm in 70 to 75 days after the seeds have been sown into the soil.

Harvesting can be done by pulling the entire plant from the soil or cutting it at the base with sterilized pair of gardening shears or a gardening knife.

After harvesting, they should be rinsed, allowed to dry, then wrap the head in plastic wrap, and they will last in the refrigerator for about two weeks.


Cabbage is propagated through seed, therefore some plants should be allowed to go to seed for the following season.


Cabbage has many pests that feed on them but using natural methods such as attracting predators and using natural insecticides such as essential oils, diatomaceous earth, or insecticidal soap will keep your pest control organic.

  • Cutworms
  • Aphids
  • Whiteflies
  • Imported cabbageworm
  • Cross-striped cabbage worm
  • Cabbage looper
  • Armyworm
  • Cabbage webworm
  • Harlequin bug
  • Diamondback moth
  • Flea Beetles


Cabbage that is planted close together can develop mold and mildew issues during times of high humidity.

If this is the case then preventive measures may need to be taken.

  • Powdery mildew
  • Downy mildew
  • Bacterial leaf spot
  • Alternaria leaf spot
  • Clubroot
  • Bottom rot
  • Black rot
  • Blackleg
  • Phytophthora root rot
  • Ring spot
  • White mold
  • Fusarium yellows


Plant viruses are caused by pests causing damage to a plant, therefore good pest management is a must.

  • Cauliflower mosaic virus
  • Turnip mosaic virus


There are over 400 different varieties to choose from that are available in green, red, purple, and white.

They are grown throughout the world with different leaf shapes from round to conical, flat or curly leaves, and tightly packed or loosely packed leaves.


Mammoth red rock cabbage is an heirloom variety that dates back to 1889.

  • Plant spacing – 18 to 24 inches apart
  • Days to germinate – 7 to 10 days
  • Days to harvest – 90 to 100 days


Brunswick cabbage is an heirloom variety from Germany.

  • Plant spacing – 12 to 18 inches apart in rows that are 18 to 36 inches apart
  • Days to germinate – 7 to 10 days
  • Days to harvest – 90 to 100 days


Charleston wakefield cabbage is an heirloom variety that is heat-tolerant and dates back to 1892.

  • Plant spacing – 18 to 24 inches apart in rows that are 12 to 24 inches apart
  • Days to germinate – 7 to 12 days
  • Days to harvest – about 70 days

Joel SImon

As a kid, Joel found enjoyment in caring for the many houseplants he grew up with, learning how to transplant them safely, cloning them, and more. At about the age of 10, he wanted to see if he could sprout an orange seed from a store-bought orange and ended up using it as a science experiment in a school project. Throughout the many years of gardening, he has helped many friends and family set up their food and botanical gardens. After years of caring for plants, he was talking with other gardeners and discovering old methods of farming and botanical gardening. Joel has decided to share his knowledge for others to enjoy as he has for many years.

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