Tips and Techniques for Successfully Growing Cabbage: A Guide for Gardeners


Cabbage is a versatile and nutrient-rich crop that can be easily grown in home gardens. It is a hardy vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Cabbage requires proper preparation and attention to ensure successful growth. In this article, we will discuss the steps to grow cabbage, including seed preparation, soil requirements, planting, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting.

First and foremost, cabbage seeds need to be properly prepared before they can be planted. Cabbage is typically seeded indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Cabbage seeds are sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s best to start them indoors rather than directly sowing them in the garden. You can use trays or individual pots filled with a loose seed-starting mix to sow the seeds. Keep the seeds moist and warm, and ensure they receive sufficient sunlight for germination.

Once the seeds have germinated and are ready for transplanting, you need to prepare the soil in your garden. Cabbage prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It thrives in full sunlight and requires a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. The soil should be loose and well-aerated to allow the roots to penetrate easily. It’s important to test your soil’s pH level and nutrient content before planting, as cabbage has specific requirements for optimum growth.

When planting cabbage transplants in the garden, make sure to space them properly to allow good air circulation between plants. Cabbage plants can grow quite large, so leaving enough space between plants is essential. Additionally, proper watering is crucial for cabbage plants. They need a consistent and regular supply of water, especially during hot and dry periods. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to rot and diseases. Cabbage plants prefer morning watering, as it helps the leaves dry quickly and reduces the risk of fungal infections.

Fertilizing cabbage plants is also important for their growth and development. Cabbage requires a balanced fertilizer with a higher amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Iron and calcium are also necessary for optimal growth. It’s recommended to feed cabbage plants every few weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer or use slow-release formulations. Always follow the package instructions for proper application and dosage.

As cabbage plants grow, it’s crucial to monitor them for any potential problems. Cabbage is susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as cabbage worms and moths. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of infestation and take necessary measures to control them. Mulches can also be used to prevent weed growth and maintain soil moisture.

In summary, growing cabbage requires proper seed preparation, soil preparation, watering, fertilizing, and monitoring for pests and diseases. With the right techniques and care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh and nutritious cabbage. So, start your cabbage garden today and reap the benefits of this versatile vegetable!

How to Grow Cabbage in Your Garden

Growing cabbage in your garden can be a rewarding experience, as it is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can thrive in a variety of conditions. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, these tips will help you successfully grow cabbage in your garden.

Choosing the Right Variety

Before you start growing cabbage, it’s important to choose the right variety for your garden. Cabbage comes in different colors and sizes, such as green, red, or even ornamental varieties. Consider factors like the space you have available, the climate in your area, and your personal preference when selecting the variety of cabbage to grow.

Preparing the Soil

Cabbage requires well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Prepare the soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage. Cabbage plants also need a pH level between 6.5 and 6.8. Test the soil and adjust the pH if needed by adding lime to raise it or sulfur to lower it.

Planting Cabbage

Start cabbage seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Once the plants have grown to about 4 inches tall, they can be transplanted to your garden. Choose a spot in your garden that receives full sun or light shade. Space the cabbage plants about 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on the variety you are growing.

Caring for Cabbage

Cabbage plants require regular watering, especially during dry periods. Water the plants at the base to prevent wetting the leaves, as this can promote diseases. Mulching around the plants with straw or compost can help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Fertilize the plants with a nitrogen-based fertilizer every three to four weeks to ensure proper nutrition.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Cabbage can be susceptible to pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and cabbage moths. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of infestation and treat them with appropriate organic or chemical insecticides if needed. Rotate your cabbage crop every year to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil.

Harvesting Cabbage

Cabbage is ready to harvest when the heads are firm and reach their mature size. Use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage heads off at the base. Harvest cabbage in the morning when the heads are cool, as this will help preserve their flavor and texture. Remove any damaged outer leaves before storage.

Storing Cabbage

Freshly harvested cabbage can be stored in a cool, dry place for several weeks. For longer storage, you can store cabbage heads in a refrigerator or a root cellar. Wrap each head in plastic wrap or place them in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture while allowing for some airflow.

By following these steps and providing proper care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of healthy cabbage from your garden throughout the growing season. Whether you prefer to steam it, stir-fry it, or use it in soups, cabbages are a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in various dishes.

When it comes to growing cabbage, there are several recommended varieties, each with its own characteristics and advantages. Here are some of them:

  • Early Jersey Wakefield: This variety grows quickly, allowing for early planting. The small size of the heads makes them perfect for smaller gardens.
  • Red Express: With its deep red color, this cabbage variety adds a pop of color to any garden. It also has good disease resistance and can be harvested as baby leaves or mature heads.
  • Savoy King: Known for its crinkly leaves, Savoy King cabbage is a favorite for making coleslaw. Its leaves are tender and have a mild flavor.
  • Golden Acre: This variety is a classic green cabbage that forms compact heads. It is a reliable variety and has good resistance to disease.

Choosing the right cabbage variety for your garden depends on factors such as the available space, desired taste, and growing conditions. Each variety has its own unique characteristics that may make it more suitable for your needs. Consulting with your local extension office or gardening expert can provide more specific information on which varieties are best suited to your area.

Regardless of the variety chosen, growing cabbage successfully involves providing adequate water, nutrition, and care. Cabbage is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization. Mulches can help retain moisture, reduce weed competition, and prevent soil temperature fluctuations. Cabbage plants should be planted in well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 6.8.

To start growing cabbage, sow the seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant the seedlings to their final growing place once they have developed several true leaves. When planting cabbage, space the rows about 18-24 inches apart, with about 12-18 inches between each plant.

Cabbage plants need to be watered frequently, especially in dry weather. It is important to water deeply to encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil. Regularly turn the outer leaves away from the center of the plant to prevent them from covering the head and hindering growth.

Knowing when to harvest cabbage is crucial. Cabbage is usually ready to be harvested when the heads feel firm and have reached maturity. Harvesting can be done by cutting the heads off at the base, leaving a few outer leaves intact to protect the inner head during transportation.

Cabbage is a versatile and nutritious crop that can be enjoyed in various dishes. Whether you are using it raw in salads, steaming, or cooking it in soups or stir-fries, cabbage provides a good source of fiber and essential nutrients.

Be mindful of common cabbage pests and diseases, such as aphids, cabbage loopers, and clubroot. Regularly inspect your plants for these and other insects, and take appropriate measures to prevent and manage infestations.

By following these recommendations and taking proper care, you can enjoy a successful cabbage harvest and cultivate healthy plants throughout the growing season.


How to Grow Cabbage

Cabbage is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be grown in gardens throughout the year. It is a cool-season crop that is easy to care for and provides a bountiful harvest. In this guide, we will view the steps for planting and cultivating cabbage.

1. Planting

Cabbage plants can be started indoors or outdoors. If started indoors, they should be planted about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant them outside when they have about 4 to 6 true leaves.

When planting cabbage, choose a sunny location in well-drained soil. Cabbage needs a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8 for optimal growth. Before planting, work organic matter and a balanced fertilizer into the soil to provide the necessary nutrition for the plants.

2. Care and Cultivation

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Cabbage plants need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Regular watering also reduces the risk of head-splitting.

Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and control weeds. Weeds can compete with cabbage for nutrients and water, so it is important to keep the garden beds weed-free.

Cabbage plants are susceptible to a variety of pests and insects, such as aphids. To control pests, monitor the plants regularly and use organic formulations if needed. Inspect the undersides of the leaves for any signs of insect activity.

3. Harvesting and Storage

Harvest cabbage heads when they reach maturity. The outer leaves will be dark green and firm. Use a sharp knife to cut the head off the plant, leaving a few outer leaves to protect the inner core.

After harvesting, cabbage can be stored in a cool and dark place with a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If properly stored, cabbage can last for several weeks.

Throughout the growing season, make sure to monitor the plants for any signs of disease or nutrient deficiencies. Common symptoms include yellowing leaves, brown spots, and stunted growth. If you notice any of these signs, consult a gardening expert for guidance.

By following these guidelines, gardeners can enjoy a healthy crop of cabbage and reap its nutritional benefits. Good luck with your cabbage-growing endeavors!


Cabbage is a cool-season crop that requires well-drained and fertile soils to grow. These soils should have a pH level between 6.0 to 6.8, which is slightly acidic. It is important to choose a location in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.

Cabbage can be grown from seeds or transplants. If you choose to sow seeds directly into the soil, it is recommended to plant them about 1/4 inch deep and 3 inches apart. You can thin out the sprouts later, leaving only one plant every 12 inches. If you prefer using transplants, you can start them indoors or buy them from a nursery. Transplants should be planted about 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date.

The soil around cabbage plants should be kept moist but not waterlogged. It is important to provide adequate nutrition to the plants, as a deficiency of iron can cause leaves to turn yellow. Regularly monitor the soil moisture and consider using organic products, such as compost or mulches, to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Mulches also serve as a barrier against soil-borne diseases and keep the soil temperature cooler.

It is best to avoid planting cabbage in areas where other members of the brassica family, such as brussels sprouts or cauliflower, were grown the previous year. This rotation helps prevent the buildup of pests and diseases that commonly affect these plants. Additionally, cabbage is susceptible to a variety of pests, including cabbage worms, moths, and aphids. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation and take appropriate measures, such as using organic insecticides or manually removing the pests.

Cabbage plants should be spaced about 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on the variety. This spacing allows the plants to develop fully and ensures proper air circulation, which helps prevent diseases. When mature, cabbage heads can split if left on the plant for too long or if exposed to head-splitting weather conditions, such as extreme heat or heavy rain.

In summary, growing cabbage requires well-drained soils with adequate nutrition and proper sunlight. Pay attention to the moisture levels and supplement with organic mulches to retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Monitor for pests and take necessary steps to control them. With the right conditions and care, you can enjoy a healthy and bountiful cabbage harvest.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.