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Cabbage Growing Quick Tips

Cabbage in the garden

Follow these cabbage growing quick tips to get cabbage started in your garden.

Sowing cabbage seeds

  • In mild-winter regions, sow cabbage from fall to late winter for a spring crop.
  • Sow cabbage seed outdoors 6 to 4 weeks before the last frost.
  • Start seed indoors 12 to 10 weeks before transplanting seedlings to the garden.
  • Sow cabbage seeds indoors in a warm, well-lighted location—in a bright window or under grow lights.
  • Sow seeds 1/4″ (6 mm) deep in a seed starting mix. Keep the mix just moist.
  • Cabbage seedlings emerge in 5-10 days at 45-85°F (7-29°C).
Young cabbages in the garden covered by bird netting
Young cabbages in the garden covered by bird netting

Growing cabbage

  • Seedlings can be transplanted into the garden when they are 4-5” (10-13 cm) tall 6 to 4 weeks before the last expected frost and 2-3 weeks after the last frost in fall.
  • Move seedlings to a sheltered place outdoors to “harden off” 1 week before transplanting.
  • Thin plants in the garden 15-24″ (30-60 cm) apart in rows 24” (61 cm) apart.
  • Grow cabbage in rich, well-drained soil, in full sun.
  • Give cabbage regular water keeping the soil evenly moist.

 Harvesting cabbage

  • Cabbage will be ready for harvest 70-100 days from direct seeding and 7-8 weeks from transplanting depending upon variety.
  • Cut cabbage at the base of the stalk when heads are firm, filled out, and 4-6 inches (10-25 cm) in diameter. Young, small cabbages are tastier.
  • Cabbage will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

More tips: Planting cabbage.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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