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Growing Cabbage

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

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

S = Plant undercover in seed trays 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
  • Winter 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.

If you choose a selection of types you can have cabbage growing all year round in temperate zones.

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

04 Jun 18, Steve from Kanahooka NSW. (Australia - temperate climate)
Just a friendly tip, I found Cabbage & Cauliflower are not compatible as companion plants, they hate each other. Last year I grew them in the same raised bed, what a disaster. I have now put them in separate raise beds with the beds 600mm apart and I now have a prolific crop of both. When I am raising the seedlings in the seed trays I also separate them by 300mm with very good results. Before I installed the raised beds I had small separate gardens all over my backyard and the plants were separated in different beds and I had prolific results back then. Hope this tip can help others
05 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
They both come from the same family so I wonder what the problem is. I grow cabbage and broccoli together (same family) no problems. I don't seem to be able to grow caulies - get too big and no head forms.
06 Jun 18, Steve from Kanahooka NSW Australia (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Mike, Cabbage & Broccoli are OK, Cauli's & Cabbage hate each other. Brassicas are heavy feeders and require regular doses of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) as well as Calcium and essential trace elements. I have a Worm Farm as well as a 2 compartment compost bin and I have great heads on my Cauli's, but don't expose the heads to the sun or frost. Worm Pee and Worm Castings create bacterial and microbial activity and feed the roots of your plants with everything they need, I still use pelletised chook manure (PCM) plus Blood & Bone as well at planting. Your NPK ratio is extremely important for all plants. Also, check your Ph level, 6.5 to 6.8 is great for Brassicas. Good Luck.
08 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Steve - I have great red soil (volcanic) with some grey sandy loan placed on it 18 years ago to make the garden bed. Over the years the grey sandy soil and red soil have mixed together. Over the years I have added plant residue and grass clippings in the summer when the bed is fallowed and turn it over several times. Then in March I added lime and fertiliser to it. I probably have too rich a soil. I have only ever tried caulies a few time and end up with huge plants 3'+ high and round. I planted them next to cabbage and broccoli. Broccoli 3'+ high and round. I know the ins and outs with fertiliser as I have farmed over the years. I have done a lot of reading the last 12mths and am fine tuning a lot of things in the garden. I also have a worm farm and use the castings (make a tea) for fert. I run my worm farm fairly dry so don't get much
13 Jun 18, Steve Donovan (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Mike, A good tip with your compost is to mix 1 part of greens such as your plant residue & grass clippings (Nitrogen), with the same amount of brown material such as dried leaves, especially gum tree leaves & trigs (Carbon) mulched up in the mower, very important to have equal parts for a good balance, I rake up leaves & twigs around the parks & schools and around stormwater drains. Grass clippings & plant residue are great but full of nitrogen which will give you leafy caulis but no heads. Also, worm pee is very important, worm pee mixed with water @ 9:1 ratio & poured around the base of each plant every 3 weeks conditions the soil which releases the nutrients out of the soil for the roots to feed off, I start my worm pee after seedlings emerge in the seed trays, I keep my worm farm moist & I catch 1 litre a week, but next year I will be increasing that to 2 litres a week. I use my worm castings at planting time plus a side dressing every 2 months around my plants & use my worm pee as my tea. I have clay soil over here on the east coast and it took me years to get it friable but it paid off in the long run. Also, mulching around you plants is very important for moisture retention & worm activity, especially sandy soils. Dried gum leaves are so important in any soil as Carbon is a very important element for healthy growth. PS: Space your cabbages & Caulis & you will have great results. BR...….Steve
15 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Steve - I read up heaps about worm leachate and tea (when I bought my worm farm) and about composting the last 12 mths. Owner of Kookaburra Worm Farm (Gin Gin QLD) told me the castings are far better than the leachate. I just take a heap of the worm castings /bedding (after it has been working for 2 mths) put it on some shade cloth over a 20 liter drum and hit it with the hose. I make about 15-20 liters. I then water this down 3 to 1 with water when putting it on. With the compost I read all about the cold and hot methods of doing it. I have read you can use anything from 50 to 95% brown (dry matter - carbon) to 50 to 5% green (green matter- nitrogen). I have used coffee grindings as my green matter. Making hot compost is a fair bit of work. Two neighbours collect their grass for me. I let it dry out. I then mix it with coffee grindings and wet it and turn it each 3-4 days. But I'm leaning to use dry matter now as a mulch and then turn it in when the crop has finished. During the summer fallow now I just build my compost heap on my garden and when near finished I just level the heap out and dig into the soil.
27 Mar 18, Gabela Abongile (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
To whom it may concern. I would like ask what vegetable crops are suitable fro planting between April and June in semi-arid areas? Furthermore, how are those crops handled in terms of fertilizer, irrigation, herbicides?
06 Mar 18, Elizabeth (Australia - temperate climate)
I live at Sussex Inlet on the south coast. Half hour drive past Nowra. When is the best time to plant seeds for Cabbage?
08 Mar 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You are temperate climate zone. Plant seeds now or seedlings April-June. Suggestion - plant seedlings if only doing a few at a time. It takes 4-5 weeks to get seeds to good seedling stage. NOT worth the hassle in my opinion. Same with broccoli and lettuce.
08 Jan 18, JT (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I've planted few veggies first time, but my cabbage are growing well with dark green leaves but unfortunately the leaves , most of the plants are eaten out , thought it must be snails or whiteflies etc and had checked leaves inside and out but can't find any culprit. I know am missing something here ?
Showing 1 - 10 of 134 comments

Website - sustainable gardening Australia says beans are good neighbors of cabbage. It also says don't grow beans next to beetroot - and I have that happening - all going good so far. Most to do with similar diseases etc. Read up about companion planting. Sometimes it works sometimes not.

- Mike

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