Cabbage is a healthy vegetable and growing it at home is simple and easy. It is a good source of vitamin C and fiber. You can add cabbage to many recipes. Cabbage rolls, Coleslaw, other cabbage meals are healthy meals. It is always best to add green leafy vegetables to your diet. Today we have so many types of cabbages in the market. Some are native to our country whereas others are native to other countries like Chinese cabbage, Indian cabbage.
The good news is you can grow any type of cabbage in your garden. There are more than 15 types of cabbages available to grow from seeds to harvest. Brassica oleracea cabbages (green and red head cabbage) are available in almost every grocery store
You may surprise to know that brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower are all members of the cabbage family. Without wasting time let’s talk about today’s topic of how to grow cabbage.
You have two options one is buying cabbage seedlings from the local garden store and plant them directly in your garden. The second method is to buy good quality cabbage seed and develop seedlings from them and then plant them in the garden.
Cabbage seeds cost you less than the cabbage seedlings.
When you buy cabbage seeds don’t forget to read the instructions. Check how many days the seed will take to become mature.
The best method of growing cabbage is indoor growing. Start growing cabbage indoors, plant the cabbage seeds 50 days before the last frost date.
Take a quality seedling tray and fill the seed starting mix in the cups of the seedlings tray. Then plant 3 seeds in each cup (1/2 cm deep).
Now the next step is to place the tray in such a place where it can receive bright sunlight.
You can use LED grow light to develop seedlings from cabbage seeds. These lights are made to grow plants indoors. You can grow an herb and vegetable plant under grow lights.
When to plant cabbage seedlings in the garden?
Cabbage is a cool-season crop so you need to plant seedlings in the garden sooner than you plant warm crops like tomatoes. Check the seed packet for days to maturity and your region’s frost-free date. It will be best for the seedlings if you harden them off before planting them in your garden.
This makes them strong enough that they can easily grow and survive in outer temperature.
Choose a sunny location and well-draining soil. For a healthy harvest add lots of compost in the soil 7 days before planting the seedlings. Once you prepare the soil and is ready to plant seedlings, space your cabbage seedlings 20 inches apart and cabbage rows 30 inches apart. Because the plants need a good room to grow. At this time, they look small but once they get matured you will harvest big heads of organically grown fresh cabbage.
After planting the cabbage plants water, them well and throughout the season. Cabbage is a leafy vegetable this means it needs a high amount of nitrogen. After 1 month of planting fertilize your cabbage plants with organic fertilizer. Keep the area free of weeds.
Because weeds absorb all the nutrients from the soil and make the growing plants nutrient deficient. To avoid nutrient deficiencies, keep the area neat and clean. Use a straw or shredded leaf to cover the growing space. This will not give any chance to weed seeds to grow and absorb all the essential nutrients from the soil.
How to grow cabbage under row covers?
Row covers are an excellent option to protect your plants from pests. Pests like cabbageworm, cabbage loopers, cabbage maggots are most likely to find on your plants. They eat green leaves and stop the growth of your plants. In fact, they can attack cabbage plants at the time of the season. The cheap and best method is preventing them. Floating row cover does not allow pests to touch the growing cabbage plants.
You can also use the same cover to protect your brussels sprouts and kale raised beds. Actually, you can cover any root vegetables that do not require pollination to grow. Winter is the season when you need to cover your growing veggies.
When you need to water your plants just unhook the side clamps and give water to your plants. Always use fresh clean chloride-free water for watering plants. You can also make your own protective structure for the cabbage plants.
But making or buying a structure for cabbages will increase the production cost. If you have a good budget buy a durable metallic structure.
When to harvest cabbage?
For harvesting cabbage, you need to check the seed packet to know the mature size of the cabbage head. But in general, it weighs about 2 to 3 pounds. Cabbage should be firm to touch and use a sharp knife to cut it from the base.
If you see the cabbage is split into two heads harvest it immediately. Heavy rain is the main cause of the cabbage head split.
Sweet thang cabbage is best for cabbage rolls. It does not form a head in fact it grows like lettuce. Whenever you need to eat cabbage just cut the leaves and add them to your recipe.
Best tips for how to grow cabbage
Plant cabbage at right time: Cabbage is a cool season crop and you need to start developing seedlings 50 days before the frost-free days. Cabbage seeds can last up to 4 years. For germination use, high quality and low maintenance LED grow lights.
Grow different varieties of cabbage: If the warm temperature of your area makes it difficult for you to grow headed cabbage. You can grow other cabbage plants like Oriental and Savoy cabbages. Headed cabbage plants have green or red color leaves. These leaves fold together to make a rounded head of cabbage. Early season varieties grow easy and fast whereas full season types take a little longer to mature.
Savoy Cabbage has longer crinkled leaves with a small size head of cabbage. The head of savoy cabbage is not round like the traditional cabbage. But it is sweeter and tastier than the traditional cabbage.
Oriental cabbage grows in oblong shape and is mostly used in Chinese soups. You can add the bottom part along with leaves in vegetable soup. Napa, Bok choy are the few main varieties.
For the best possible growth of cabbage use high-quality seeds. It is best if you use fresh seeds. Normally cabbage seeds can be stored for 4 years. But their sprouting power decreases with time.
If you find it difficult to find good cabbage seeds in your local market. You can buy them from Amazon.