Cabbage, how to grow it and different varieties

Cabbage is a vegetable that comes in many varieties and is very easy to grow.

Cabbage Patch Facts

Name – Brassica
Family – brassicas
Type – biennial vegetable

Exposure – full sun
Soil – Cool, deep, moist and rich
Harvest – All year round depending on the variety

Special care, from sowing and planting to harvesting, will help you get magnificent cabbage.

Sowing and planting cabbage

Cabbage comes in different varieties and each requires specific growing conditions and planting times.

White cabbage, kale or headed cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli, here is how to grow them all.

If you choose and sow different varieties, you’ll be able to harvest cabbage from spring until the end of winter.

Headed cabbage

Sow headed cabbage at the end of winter or at the beginning of spring in a nursery.

White cabbage can start before kale.

Cauliflower

Growing cauliflower takes much longer, since it needs nearly 7 months from seed to harvest.

  • Sow in March and April in a sheltered place to harvest in fall.
  • Sow in May directly in the ground to harvest in winter.
  • Here are all the tips on growing cauliflower.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are generally sown at the end of winter or in spring in a sheltered place.

  • Sowing can start in a nursery in March, and seedlings are transplanted to the ground in May.
  • Planting usually takes place in May or June.
  • Here are all the tips on how to grow Brussels sprouts.

Broccoli

  • The first broccoli cabbage of the season are called early broccoli, and can be sown in a sheltered place as early as March, for a harvest from August to September.
  • For direct sowing, though, wait for the last frost spells to have subsided, which means planting in May or June.
  • Here are all the tips on how to grow broccoli.

Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage

After sowing, how to care for cabbage

As soon as seedlings have sprouted at least 3 to 4 leaves, transplant them to their target location. Protect the cabbage seedlings if you need to plant before the month of May.

  • Space plants 16 inches (40 cm) apart when transplanting.
    This space is needed to give the plants room to grow.
  • The soil must have been well tilled beforehand.
  • Water regularly but in a light drizzle to keep the substrate sufficiently moist.

Harvesting cabbage

Harvesting headed cabbage

Headed cabbage, both kale or white cabbage, need a few months to grow, but this span of time is highly variable, depending on the cultivar.

Some varieties can be harvested 2 months after planting, whereas others need up to 7 months.

Wait for the head to have grown as large as a good-sized apple before harvesting your headed cabbage.

Harvesting Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are harvested as the main stem grows taller and taller.

You only need to break off the tiny cabbage heads that grow along the side of it when you need a few.

Harvesting cauliflower

Cauliflower can be harvested practically all year round, depending on when they were sown.

Wait for the head to be well-formed, and slice it off at ground level.

Harvesting broccoli cabbage

Broccoli is harvested when the main head is well formed and still tightly bunched.

Cut just about 2 inches (5 cm) below the harvested head, to let your broccoli grow on.

Harvesting napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage

This takes place in fall until frost spells hit, and even winter if the climate permits (mild winters).

Slice the head off at the base with a very sharp blade.

Smart tip about cabbage

Provide your cabbage with extra nutrients (fertilizer, manure and seaweed-based compost) to boost growth and especially enhance your own harvest!