Growing Cabbage

Brassica sp. : Brassicaceae / the mustard or cabbage family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S     S S S        
      T     T T T      
      P     P P P      

(Best months for growing Cabbage in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 41°F and 64°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 20 - 30 inches apart
  • Harvest in 11-15 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile, thyme)
  • Avoid growing close to: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chili, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard, parsnip
  • Cabbage
  • Winter cabbage

There are many varieties of cabbage.

Those which stand winter weather usually have darker leaves and a stronger flavour, e.g. Savoy.

Red cabbage is grown in a similar way to green varieties.

In temperate climates ff you plant a selection of types you can have cabbage growing all year round.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cabbage

Young spring cabbage can be chopped and added to salad greens.
Steaming preserves the goodness and flavour of cabbage.
Can also be used in stir-fry.
Red cabbage chopped and cooked with brown sugar, red wine, onions, vinegar and stock is served with boiled bacon or pork.

Your comments and tips

28 Jul 08, Nikki (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have planted cabbage seeds in trays; how high/big should they be before I transplant them to their final position in the vegie garden?
28 Jul 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Nikki, plant your cabbages out when they have developed past the first two leaves and are looking a bit sturdy: about 8-10cm tall. Good luck with your gardening.
29 Jul 08, Kaye Hawley (Australia - temperate climate)
I very much miss the spring cabbage we had with Sunday lamb roast as a child. I have tried everywhere to buy sedlings or even seeds. But no-one knows it. These days it also seems to be called spring greens. It is a stronger flavour than other cabbage and grows in loose leaves, rather like English spinach. Are the seeds available anywhere in Australia? I am in WA.
04 Sep 08, Sandra (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
There are holes in my mini cabbages, I'm gussing they are made by caterpillars. What is an organic or home made spray that I can make to deter these caterpillars?
04 Sep 08, Chris (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Sandra, derris (rotenone) is an organic treatment for cabbage white butterfly, but it has some possible toxicity in humans (see and is lethal to worms. An alternative is placing netting over the cabbages, so the pests can't get in to lay their eggs. Maybe you could pick off the current pests and net to prevent any more?
28 Sep 08, Sue (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I planted mini cabbages a few months ago. They have grown very strange. They are getting tall stems with like clusters of seeds appearing off the stems. Is this normal? I have never tried them before.
29 Sep 08, Chris (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Sue, it sounds like you might have brussel sprouts, not cabbages... Perhaps the wrong seed was in the packet?
13 Oct 08, Trevor Stewart (Australia - temperate climate)
I planted a dozen cabbages at the end of May, they have come along fine, now being october they do not seem to want to hearten up. would this be a lack of water [ rainfall ] or is there another reason.
17 Oct 08, Carl (Australia - temperate climate)
I also planted mini cabbages a few months ago and had the same problems. They were getting tall stems with like clusters of seeds appearing off the stems. I also had never tried them before. I thought maybe the seeds were mixed up at Bunnings (they seemed like they were broccolli). I have since take them out and will try to grow a different cabbage.
19 Oct 08, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Planted mini cabbages in Blackheath about 8 weeks ago, they are comining along beautifully but about 20% of them appear to be going to seed, as above. They were grown from punnets, not seed, and are all the same variety. Do I break off the seed or leave them to develop? Rainfall, watering and fertilising are good. When are they ready to harvest?
Showing 1 - 10 of 225 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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