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When to Plant Cabbage

Cabbage seedlings started indoors

Cabbage is a hardy, cool-season crop. Cabbage seedlings can be set in the garden 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. You can sow cabbage seeds indoors in flats 4 to 6 weeks before you set seedlings in the garden; that’s 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost. The minimum soil temperature for cabbage is slightly above 40°F (4°C).

Cabbage grows best at temperatures between 40° and 75°F (4°-24°C). Cooler temperatures and warmer temperatures can cause cabbages to bolt and go to seed. Choose a variety (see list below) that will come to harvest before adverse temperatures set in.

Expect cabbage seeds to germinate at nearly 100 percent. You may want to use tweezers to place seeds in the flat at 2-inch (5cm) intervals. If seeds come up crowded, transplant some to another flat otherwise the seedlings will become leggy and weak.

If you live where summer temperatures do not get warmer than about 70°F (21°C), plant succession crops every 3 weeks for a continuous supply of tender cabbage.

Cabbage has very shallow roots, so keep the top few inches of soil from drying out. Fluctuations in soil moisture after the heads have formed can cause heads to split.

Young cabbage plants in the garden.

Cabbage planting dates for spring and summer harvest

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-15
Feb. 8Jan. 1-Feb. 10*
Feb. 18Jan. 1-Feb. 25*
Feb. 28Jan. 1-Feb. 25*
Mar. 10Jan. 25-Mar. 1*
Mar. 20Feb. 1-Mar. 1*
Mar. 30Feb. 15-Mar. 10
Apr. 10Mar. 1-Apr. 1*
Apr. 20Mar. 10-Apr. 1*
Apr. 30Mar. 15-Apr. 10*
May 10Apr. 1-May 15*
May 20May 1-June 15
May 30May 10-June 15
June 10May. 20-June 1
*Consider planting in mid-to-late summer for a fall harvest, especially if you live in a hot summer region.
Cabbage patch near harvest
Cabbage patch near harvest

Cabbage planting details

  • Sowing depth: ½ inch (13mm)
  • Space between plant after thinning: 18-24 inches (cm)
  • Days to sprout: 10
  • Days to harvest: 60-110
  • Storage period: 12-16 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: ¼ ounce (7 grams)
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 60 pounds (29 kg)
  • Early to harvest varieties (65-75 days): Earliana, Early Greenball, Early Marvel, Golden Acre, Emerald Cross Hybird.
  • Midseason to harvest varieties (75-85 days): Bonanza, Copenhagen Market, Stonehead.
  • Late to harvest varieties (85-100 days): Houston Evergreen, Storage Green, Danish Ballhead, Penn State Ballhead.

Related articles of interest:

How to Grow Cabbage

Cabbage Seed Starting Tips

Cabbage Growing Quick Tips

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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