Cabbage is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be eaten in many forms. This important food crop is extremely valuable owing to its dense-leaved heads that serve as a nutritional food source. You can grow your own cabbage and it is quite easy to do so, as we will show you in this guide. Cabbage belongs to the same family of vegetables as other nutritious veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.sha
Let’s take a look at some tips on how to successfully grow and harvest cabbage in your garden and the many forms in which you can enjoy it.
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Tips to Grow Cabbage in your Garden
Before we move on to the steps of cabbage cultivation, here are some important factors to consider regarding the most suitable environment for growing cabbage:
Cabbage grows best in rocky, wild cliffs, where it can grow undisturbed by other encroaching plants. Thankfully, this versatile vegetable isn’t too picky about the soil it grows in. It can even grow in light (sandy), medium (loamy), or heavy (clay) soil. It prefers a moist though well-drained soil so you must water your seedlings properly. Since cabbage can also tolerate a wide pH range, it can do well in acidic, neutral, or basic soils. This hardy vegetable can even tolerate seaside exposure!
Cabbage can withstand temperatures down to 26 F. It does well in spring up to fall. A light frost can improve the taste of fall-planted cabbage.
Best Time To Plant
It is possible to grow cabbage as a fall crop or even as a spring crop. In most places, a good time to plant cabbage is around mid-February. You can sow the seeds in late spring-early summer, and transfer it to the garden during mid to late summer. As stated above, fall cabbages are often sweeter when they get nipped by the autumnal frost.
Pests like caterpillars/cabbage-loopers, cabbage worms, and slugs are known to devour cabbages. You can handpick most of these worms out and prevent them in the first place by using natural repellents like Neem, diatomaceous earth powder, slug traps, or bacillus thuringiensis.
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Steps of Planting Cabbage
Planting the Seeds
- The only propagation method for growing cabbage in a garden is seed propagation.
- Purchase the seeds locally. Your local nursery will carry the best cabbage for your region.
- Plant the seed in a pot six to eight weeks before your last spring frost.
- Cover the seed with one-quarter inch of potting soil or fine sphagnum moss.
- If you are planting multiple seeds, then make sure to plant them an inch-apart.
Placement of Planter and Soil maintenance
- You can place the planter or pot in a sunny window or under plant lights.
- It is a good idea to cover the pot with a thin plastic sheet held in place with a rubber band. This helps maintain humidity.
- Keep the soil moist and not soggy.
- If the ambient temperature is about 68 to 75 F, your seeds will germinate in about 5 to 10 days.
Transferring the Seedlings
- Once germinated, take the plastic sheet off. Do not allow the seedlings to dry out.
- Once all the seeds have developed 2-3 leaves, transplant them to individual containers. You can even use egg cartons or small plastic containers for the task.
- If you live in a very cold place, it is best to move the seedlings to a warmer area. In most cases, cabbage seedlings can withstand temperatures up to 26 F.
- If you plan to plant them in the garden, place them between taller plants like beans or corn. This will provide shade and keep the plants cooler in summer months.
- Cabbage needs water throughout its growth. So always keep the soil moist. Mulch the soil around the cabbage to help maintain moisture. You can hand-water the plant around the roots. Do not use sprinklers as watering near the heads can lead to musty mildews which tend to affect the taste of the cabbage.
Harvesting and Cabbage Maturity Time
- Heads develop between 50-90 days or more depending upon the variety. As you become an expert at cabbage planting, you will find three different maturity types in cabbage harvests: early maturity of about 50-60 days, mid-maturity of about 60-75 days, and late-season maturity of more than 75 days. It is a good idea to plant a few seeds of each maturity for a longer harvest.
- Always harvest the cabbage heads in the morning, while the heads are cool, especially in summer.
- After you harvest the main head, there will be smaller heads which will continue to develop and they are still quite good to taste.
What To Do With Your Garden Cabbage
There are tons of things you can do with your cabbages. Most people love to make delicious and colorful coleslaw with it. Here are some more ways to use your cabbage:
Stews, Soups, and Broths
Cabbage is a great addition to stews, soups, and broths along with your meats. On its own, it does not have a strong flavor or taste. As a result; it will not overpower other veggies or meat. It is a hearty vegetable that is full of fiber. This makes cabbage stews and soups comforting foods for winters.
Canned, Preserved, or Pickled
Cabbage can also be pickled or fermented. Sauerkraut, a German cabbage pickle, is a probiotic-rich condiment that is gaining popularity the world over. You can add sauerkraut to sandwiches, burgers, wraps, or even soups and stews to enhance the taste as well as the nutritional content of the dish. Sauerkraut is rich in fiber and gut-friendly probiotic bacteria that enhance immunity and also fight infections.
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Steamed, Sautéed, Braised, or Fried
There are many other uses for cabbage. Check any world-cuisine and you will find a use for cabbage in it. You can eat it in any form such as stir-fried, sautéed, braised, stewed, steamed, grilled, and even broiled, boiled, or baked!
We hope you enjoy the process of planting, harvesting, and eating your home-grown cabbage!