Cabbage likes cool but not freezing temperatures. It will not form a head but will instead split or bolt if exposed to too much heat or severe frost. Good companions for cabbage include thyme, dill, chamomile, sage, and onions.
Days to Harvest: 80–180 days from seed; 65–105 days from transplant
Size: 12″–18″ tall and 18″–24″ wide
Container Size: Five gallons or larger. Container should be 10″–12″ deep.
When to Plant: Begin planting in the spring 5 weeks before last spring frost date. Cabbage can also be planted in the fall in many climates.
Varieties to Try: Savoy Ace (compact curly variety); Early Jersey Wakefield (compact green variety); Red Acre (compact red variety).
Grows Best From: Seed or transplant. When choosing transplants at the nursery, look for small transplants with compact green leaves on a short stem.
How to Plant
Plant seeds 1⁄4″ deep and 3″ apart. Thin to 12″–20″ apart when seedlings are 2″–3″ tall. Plant transplants 12″–20″ apart a little deeper than nursery-pot level, but not deeper than the first set of leaves.
Light: Full sun.
Water: Water well until plants are established and then provide regular water. Cabbage grows well with an olla (a clay container for self-watering) or in a self-watering container. Once cabbage is almost full-size, cut back a little on watering to prevent the head from splitting.
Feed: Benefits from a liquid organic fertilizer application each week, 3–4 weeks after planting.
When to Harvest
Harvest cabbage when heads are well formed and firm, cutting off at the base with a sharp knife. Young, small heads have the best flavor.
Tips: Cut away the large bottom leaves if they turn yellow. Insects such as cabbage worms, cutworms, snails, and slugs can ruin young cabbage leaves.