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How to Grow Cabbage Plants

Cabbage are hardy vegetables. They prefer the cool weather of spring and fall. Do not grow cabbages in mid summer. They do not like hot weather at all. At best, they will go dormant in the heat of mid-summer. More likely, they will bolt or rot. Growing cabbage in the spring or the fall is best. Better yet, grow it in the spring and the fall. A member of the mustard family, cabbage has a strong, distinct flavor.

Cabbage withstands frosts, and even light freezes. Flavor improves after a frost. They are among the last of the vegetables harvested in the fall, sometimes harvested after a light snow.

The most common cabbage is white. There is also a purple, or red cabbage. Lesser known in the U.S. is Chinese cabbage.

How to Grow Cabbage:

Cabbage plants prefer full sun and a rich to average garden soil. They like cool weather. Cabbage will often split or bolt in hot weather.

Cabbage is best started indoors several weeks prior to planting. Seedlings can be transplanted outdoors early in the spring a couple of weeks prior to the last frost. If planted in wet weather, elevate the soil a little prior to planting.

Space seedlings 1 1/2 feet apart in rows 2 1/2 feet apart.

Water regularly to maintain moist, not wet soil.

Fertilize regularly with a general purpose garden fertilizer.

Days to Maturity:  Ranges from 60 to 75 days depending on variety. If planted early, many areas can plant a fall crop.


Pick cabbage after the heads are full and solid. Squeeze the head to see if it has solidly formed.

Cabbage can be eaten raw, or cooked.

Insects, Pests, and Disease:

Among the most common insect problems are aphids, and cabbage loopers. Cabbage loopers  are the larva stage of a moth. Use insecticides or organic repellent as needed. Follow the insecticide label carefully prior to use.

Hot and humid weather will cause cabbage rot. The only way to prevent this is to grow it in cool weather.

More Information:

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