Growing cabbage is an easy plant for beginners that belongs in all vegetable gardens. It also stores better than most veggies, ensuring that it’ll be there for you well into the winter.
Cabbage plants need plenty of sun and a rich, moist soil that drains well in order to reach their peak of goodness.
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Cabbage seeds should be started indoors in a seed flat about eight weeks before you want to plant them in your garden. Plant the seeds about one quarter inch deep in rich, well drained soil. Firm the soil and place the seeds on top, then thinly cover with more soil. Cabbage seeds that are planted too deeply will not grow.
Keep the temperature of the soil at 72 degrees minimum (22.2 C) for four to five days until seedlings peek out, and then drop the soil temperature back down to 55-60 F (12.8-16 C) to keep the seedlings from becoming thin and leggy.
Cabbage may also be purchased as young plants from nursery and garden centers. These should be planted about 12 inches apart in rows spaced anywhere from 24 to 36 inches apart. Spacing depends on the type of cabbage planted, as some need more room than others.
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Wait to transplant the plant at least until the point that it has three or four leaves. Once your cabbage plants have gone into the ground, use an organic garden fertilizer for vegetables.
Add an organic nitrogen fertilizer when the plants are about half grown.
Young cabbage plants need ample water, especially when growing in warm weather, and they do best with at least 6 hours of full sun.
You can harvest your cabbage at any time after the heads of the plant have formed, although many claim that smaller softball-sized heads are tastier. Cut the heads from the plants when they are firm, but before they have become so solid and large that they have started to crack or split.
Harvest any split or cracked heads as soon as possible before they become unusable. The stump of plant left in the ground will produce a second crop of smaller but leafy heads.
To store cabbage heads after they are harvested, first remove the loose outer leaves until you are left with a smooth ball. Cabbage may be stored for up to two months in the refrigerator, a cold cellar, or even in an outdoor pit for up to two months. Place heads of cabbage in plastic bags.
Frozen cabbage is suitable only as a cooked vegetable. You may cut the cabbage into shreds or wedges, or simply separate the leaves from the head to freeze whole. Water blanch cabbage for one to two minutes, depending on the size of the head, then cool, package and freeze.
Leftover cabbage seeds will last up to four years.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Cabbage. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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