Oct 16, 2017


Cabbage or headed cabbage (comprising several cultivars of Brassica oleracea) is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabbage, B. oleracea var. oleracea, and is closely related to broccoli and cauliflower (var. botrytis), Brussels sprouts (var. gemmifera) and savoy cabbage (var. sabauda) which are sometimes called cole crops. Cabbage heads generally range from 0.5 to 4 kilograms (1 to 9 lb), and can be green, purple and white. Smooth-leafed firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed red and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors seen more rarely. It is a multi-layered vegetable. Under conditions of long sunlit days such as are found at high northern latitudes in summer, cabbages can grow much larger. 
Cabbage heads are generally picked during the first year of the plant's life cycle, but plants intended for seed are allowed to grow a second year, and must be kept separated from other cole crops to prevent cross-pollination. Cabbage is prone to several nutrient deficiencies, as well as to multiple pests, and bacterial and fungal diseases.
Plants perform best when grown in well-drained soil in a location that receives full sun. Different varieties prefer different soil types, ranging from lighter sand to heavier clay, but all prefer fertile ground with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. 
Cabbages are prepared in many different ways for eating. They can be pickled, fermented for dishes such as sauerkraut, steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw. Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and dietary fiber. Contaminated cabbage has been linked to cases of food-borne illness in humans.
Plants have shallow root systems. Avoid even shallow cultivation. Mulch to protect roots, reduce weed competition and conserve moisture.


Growing rich heads of cabbage requires cool, but sunny weather and ample wate. Yet growing cabbage also usually demands soil preparation prior to planting, to ensure a nutrient-rich environment for the new cabbage sprouts. After the initial growth stages, further fertilization helps the plant mature into a big, tasty vegetable.


Enrich your soil prior to planting by adding nutrients in late autumn or early winter. Shovel 2 to 4 inches of rich compost onto the planting plot, and scatter pellets from a general purpose fertilizer (composition ratings of 15-15-15 or 16-16-8) over the plot. Use 4 to 6 cups of fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting plot.

Turn the top 6 to 8 inches of soil over, so as to thoroughly mix the added fertilizer and compost. Use a shovel to break up the soil, and either a shovel or a garden fork to turn it over. Plant your cabbage.

Monitor your cabbage plot to determine when to add more fertilizer. Usually the time comes about eight weeks after planting, or roughly four weeks after thinning the garden plot of unwanted cabbage sprouts, but also confirm the timing with a visual inspection. Most or all of your cabbage plants should be at least 6 inches tall before you fertilize them again.

Add a nitrogen-heavy, liquid fertilizer (such as 21-0-0) once you determine the plants are ready. Put about 1/2 cup of the fertilizer into the mix for every 10 feet of cabbage row in your planting plot. Spray the plot along the outer sides of the cabbage rows, about 6 inches from the plants.

Add a second and final batch of fertilizer to the garden plot once a noticeable head forms on the cabbage plants, following the same procedure outlined in the previous step. Do not add more fertilizer after this point, as it encourages loose and/or split heads of cabbage.