Cabbage is a hardy, leafy vegetable full of vitamins and other natural health benefits, making it a staple food in cultures across the world. Better yet, with so many varieties and colors, cabbage looks as good in your garden as it does on your plate. Here are a few tips for growing cabbage in your garden.
Prepare the Soil for Your Cabbage Plants
Cabbage can be difficult to grow. It prefers cool temperatures, and it can be a magnet for certain types of pests. By planning your growing season and providing diligent care, you may have two successful crops, one in spring and fall. Many varieties are available to suit both your growing conditions and taste preferences. Whichever cabbage you choose, work a 3-inch layer of rich compost or other organic matter, such as Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil, into the top 6 inches of soil before planting.
Plant Cabbage Seed or Transplants
Start cabbage seeds indoors 5-7 weeks before the last frost, and set out the seedlings when they are 4-6 weeks old. Plant nursery-grown transplants 2 weeks before the average last frost date. Plant 12 to 24 inches apart in rows, depending on size of head desired. The closer you plant, the smaller the heads. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
Weed, Feed, and Water Your Cabbages
Once your seedlings are established, water with a soaker hose to avoid wetting the foliage. Keeping the soil moist will help keep your cabbage heads from cracking. Feed with a water-soluble plant food, such as Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, every two weeks until harvest. Weed carefully to avoid damaging the roots of your cabbage plants.
Harvest Your Cabbage
Cabbage is ready to harvest when the heads are tight, firm, and 4-10 inches in diameter. Cut the stem just below the head, using a sharp knife. Your cabbage will taste the best right after harvest, although cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks, wrapped lightly in plastic. Make sure the head is dry before storing. In cool, humid places, like a root cellar, cabbage will keep for up to 3 months.