The Vegetable Garden


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    Cabbage is a cool season vegetable suited to both spring and fall. It belongs to the cole crop family (Brassica oleracea), which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. The trick to growing cabbage is steady, uninterrupted growth. That means rich soil, plenty of water, and good fertilization.


    Green cabbage is grown more often than the red or Savoy types, but red cabbage has become increasingly popular for color in salads and cooked dishes. The Savoy varieties are grown for slaw and salads. Varieties that mature later usually grow larger heads and are more suitable for making sauerkraut than the early varieties. All the varieties listed here are resistant to fusarium wilt ("yellows") unless otherwise indicated. All are hybrid varieties unless marked OP, for open-pollinated variety.

    Green Cabbage

    • Cheers (75 days to harvest; solid round heads; tolerant to black rot and thrips)
    • Early Jersey Wakefield (OP - 63 days; pointed heads; stands well; resists splitting)
    • King Cole (74 days; large; firm; extremely uniform heads)

    Savoy Cabbage

    • Savoy King (85 days to harvest; dark, green color; very uniform)
    • Savoy Queen (88 days; 5 pounds; deep green color; good heat tolerance)

    Red Cabbage

    • Red Meteor (75 days to harvest; firm; good for all seasons)
    • Ruby Ball (71 days; 4 pounds; slow to burst; resists both cold and heat)

    When To Plant

    Transplant early cabbage soon enough that it matures before the heat of summer. Many varieties are available and two or three varieties with different maturities can provide harvest over a long period. Hardened plants are tolerant of frosts and can be planted among the earliest of cool-season garden vegetables. Cabbage is easily transplanted from either bare-root or cell-pack-grown plants. Late cabbage must be started during the heat of mid-summer, but it develops its main head during the cooling weather of fall. It may be transplanted or seeded directly in the garden. In summer, if possible, place seed flats or seedbeds where some protection from the sun is available, either natural or artificial. Try especially hard during this season to transplant on cloudy, overcast or rainy days for minimizing shock from the direct sun of summer.

    Spacing & Depth

    Space plants 12 to 24 inches apart in the row, depending upon the variety and the size of head desired. The closer the spacing, the smaller the heads. Early varieties are usually planted 12 inches apart in all directions. Early varieties produce 1 to 3 pound heads and later varieties produce 4 to 8 pound heads. Sow cabbage seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Keep the seeds moist and thin or transplant the seedlings to the desired spacing. The plants removed may be transplanted to another row or flat.