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How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage

How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

Cabbage can be grown almost anywhere and has long been valued for its storage life and hardiness. That being said, cabbage can be tricky to grow for the beginning gardener. These 10 tips for how to grow cabbage will have you on your way to cabbage-growing success.

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10 tips for how to grow cabbage:

1. Plant cabbage at the right time

An important thing to remember is cabbage likes cool temperatures. Cabbage will not form a head but split or bolt if exposed to too much heat or severe frost.

In cold winter areas, cabbage is a spring and fall crop. Sow cabbage seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last spring frost for a spring crop and 14 weeks before the first fall frost. Seeds sprout in 4 to 10 days. Cabbage seeds last up to 4 years. Cabbage seeds are available online at

In areas with mild winters, like the low desert of Arizona, cabbage grows best during the winter season. In the low desert of Arizona:

Start seeds indoors: August  – December

Plant seeds outside: September 15 (or when nighttime temps begin to cool off) – November

Plant transplants outside: September 15 (or when nighttime temps begin to cool off)- January

How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

2. Try growing different types of cabbage

If warm temperatures may make growing traditional-headed cabbage difficult try Oriental and Savoy cabbage varieties. These types are often more consistent producers when grown in warm climates like the low desert of Arizona. How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

Head cabbage has green or red leaves and forms a tight rounded head. Early and mid-season varieties are smaller and faster growing. Late or long-season varieties are larger and store well. Varieties to try: Early Jersey Wakefield, Emerald Cross, Red Acre, Mammoth Red, and Stonehead.

How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

Savoy cabbage has long crinkled leaves that form a looser head than other varieties. It is also milder and sweeter than standard cabbage with a more delicate texture.How to grow cabbage

Oriental cabbage grows into an oblong shape. Varieties include Napa, Bok Choy, and Tatsoi.

Planting dates for Bok Choy for the low desert of Arizona are:

Start seeds indoors: August 15 – January

Plant seeds outside: August 15 – January

Plant transplants outside: October – February

How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

3. Grow cabbage in the best location

Cabbage prefers well-draining rich soil. Amend the soil with compost and nitrogen-rich blood meal (I like this one from Amazon) or cottonseed meal (I use this one from Amazon) before planting to encourage leafy growth.

Choose an area with full sun. Although cabbage prefers cooler temperatures, it requires plenty of sunshine to grow well.How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

4. Give cabbage enough room

If using square-foot gardening, plant 1 cabbage per 1-2 squares. Otherwise, space plants 18-24 inches apart depending on the variety. How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

5. Plant vigorous healthy seedlings for the best cabbage

Give cabbage a good start in life – choose small and tight transplants and avoid leggy or overgrown transplants. Don’t let transplants dry out or become pot-bound. Seedlings planted too late may not form heads and may bolt and flower instead. When planting, bury the stem up to just below the first set of leaves.How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

6. Learn how to prevent and treat cabbage pests and diseases

How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbageCabbage seems to be a magnet for some common pests and diseases. Insects such as cabbage worms, cutworms, snails, and slugs can ruin young cabbage leaves. Aphids are a sign of water or heat stress. Using a combination of methods works well to prevent and treat pests.

  • Plant onions, radishes, and nasturtiums near cabbage to help deter pests. I love planting I’itoi onions around all my cabbage plants.
  • Use row covers while plants are young.
  • To protect against cutworms, place a protective collar around young plants. Strips of newspaper can be used for this.
  • Handpick caterpillars each morning and night.
  • Spray cabbage infected with caterpillars with Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis – I use this type from Amazon).
  • Spray aphids with water or treat with insecticidal soap.

To prevent the build-up of soil-borne diseases, rotate where you plant cabbage each year. Wait 3 years before planting cabbage in the same spot. Remove and destroy affected plants.

To prevent disease, remove the entire plant after harvesting rather than leaving the roots in the ground.How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

7. Provide even watering for cabbage

Cabbage requires regular, even watering. Uneven watering can result in stunted, split, or cracked heads. Heavy mulch will help keep the soil cool and retain moisture.The best way to water square foot gardens and raised bed gardens #squarefootgarden #gardening #watering #driplineirrigation

8. Don’t let cabbage go hungry

Cabbage is a heavy feeder – it depletes the soil quickly. Feed young plants with a fish emulsion and seaweed solution 2 weeks after planting. Feed again 3 weeks later, and feed monthly throughout the growing season.

If cabbage isn’t forming a head consider fertilizing with a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus. (The middle number in the N-P-K listing)
Fish fertilizer is a great organic way to fertilize plants

9. Harvest cabbage correctly

Cabbage tolerates light freezes – the flavor improves with cold weather. Harvest before temperatures heat up. Cabbage is ready to harvest in about 80 to 180 days when grown from seed and in approximately 65 to 105 days if grown from transplants (depending upon the variety).How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

  • Harvest head cabbage when heads are well-formed and firm. Harvest head cabbage by cutting the base with a sharp knife. Want a second crop? Cut the head off high on the plant, leaving as many outer leaves as possible. The plant will send up as many as 6 new heads – harvest when about tennis ball-size.
  • Begin harvesting leaf cabbage about a month after planting by harvesting the outer leaves using the cut-and-come-again method. To do this, harvest only the older outer leaves and allow the center of the plant to send out new leaves.
  • Once the harvest is complete, remove the roots and stem to prevent soil-borne disease.

How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

10. Store and use your homegrown cabbage ​

Remove loose leaves, wrap in a damp paper towel, and store in a plastic vegetable bag. Cabbage stored in this manner will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. Use cabbage in slaw, roasted, kimchi, soup, cabbage rolls, stir-fries and more. Preserve cabbage by fermenting, and make your own sauerkraut. How to Grow Cabbage: 10 Tips for Growing Cabbage #gardentips #gardening #howtogrowcabbage #cabbage

If you enjoyed this post about how to grow cabbage, please share it:


Sunday 2nd of October 2022

I would like to grow some Napa cabbage here in Litchfield Park Az. When will be the best time to germinate the seeds? Is it possible to grow Napa cabbage here? Thank you for your time


Sunday 2nd of October 2022

@Angela Judd, Thank you so much. I subscribed your YouTube channel, love watching all your gardening videos.

Angela Judd

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Yes, follow the timing guidelines for regular cabbage. Napa cabbage grows well here.


Thursday 25th of August 2022

Thanks for the information I got from your page. I have learned a lot as a new farmer. Be blessed

Angela Judd

Friday 26th of August 2022

Thanks so much.


Friday 15th of July 2022

Can I plant cabbage in summer?

Angela Judd

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

It depends on where you live. Cabbage is a cool-season crop. You can plant it towards the end of summer for a fall/winter harvest. Check your local planting guide for dates.

Carol J Fryer

Friday 24th of December 2021

I have cabbage growing and trying to learn how to take care of them. The heads are small and really not growing much but the plants look really healthy. Im getting frustrated and because I just cant find simple information as to what to feed them. Is it really that complicated? Will fish emulsion help the head. What will help the head?

Angela Judd

Tuesday 4th of January 2022

If cabbage isn't forming a head consider fertilizing with a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus. (The middle number in the N-P-K listing) Here is one I like:

Canisius zimba

Sunday 19th of December 2021

Can you first plant allot of seed together, then transfer them to a newer place

Angela Judd

Tuesday 21st of December 2021

Sure, just separate seedlings and plant 18-24 inches apart where you will be growing them permanently.