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How We Plant Cabbage

Planting CabbageCabbages like cool, wet weather; they hate hot, dry summers. About 6 weeks from the date of your last frost, start the seeds indoors. One week from the time they are to be planted outdoors, begin the hardening off process. Cabbage tend to be tough plants so they can go into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked, optimum soil temperature being 55-75 degrees F. We plant them 18” apart (a tight spacing). One of the problems you will have with cabbage is this: if you plant all of the cabbage on the same date, they will all mature on the same date and you will be flooded with cabbage, which cannot be stored unless you make sauerkraut out of it. So what we advise you to do is to plant several cabbage one week, then several the next, etc. This technique works good until the weather becomes too hot, at which time the cabbages ‘bolt’ (split) and go to seed.

Another way that you can get around this problem is to plant several varieties of cabbage that have different maturity dates, known as short season, medium season and long season varieties. These you can normally plant all at the same time, and they will mature at different times. We employ this technique regularly. For very small gardens, you can grow Chinese cabbage in only 10 square feet of garden space that will produce plenty of cabbage for you. Remember that cabbages taste best when harvested in cool weather. If allowed to grow too long, the heads absorb too much water and will split, this happening especially after a heavy rain.

Cabbage takes up a lot of space in the small garden, and might not be worth the effort, or space, for a novice gardener. We normally plant only a single 10 foot row of cabbage, which is plenty for us.

To plant, cut an ‘X’ in the black plastic, dig a deep hole, put some fertilizer in the hole and mix with surrounding dirt, remove the lip from the peat pot, place the plant deeply into the hole, cover hole with soil and give a very good watering.

Cut Slits In Plastic Dig Hole Add Fertilizer And Mix Into Soil
Cut slits in plastic Dig hole in soil Mix fertilizer in hole

Trim Lip Of Peat Pot Place Plant Into Hole Cover Soil Over Pot
Remove lip of peat pot Lower plant into hole Cover pot with soil

We normally plant several varieties of cabbage, being sure to plant at least one red cabbage, during the third week of April. The Jung Seed Company sells a single variety pack of early, midsummer and late cabbages, both green and red for under $2. These packages contain about 100 seeds, so you can use half this year and half the next (see the section on saving old seeds). This is a really good idea and is a good buy.

We recently tried something new. We decided to cover the cabbage plants with a white row cover to keep off the cabbage moths. This seems to have worked and the cabbage produced a fine crop with almost no moth damage at all.

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Start Seed Indoors