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Indoors | Outdoors

Why Grow It

Paired with bacon or shredded for a slaw, cabbage is a supremely useful, healthy vegetable that grows well in our relatively cool climate. It’s also easy to grow.

While cabbage plants take up a lot of space you can be sure it is worth it – with a little planning it’s possible to have a supply of cabbage all year round, even through the coldest of winters.

  • Dig in some well-rotted manure or apply a general fertiliser a week before sowing.
  • Do not grow cabbage anywhere that you have grown any member of the cabbage family the previous year (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collards and kale). The best way to manage all these veg is to create a crop rotation scheme prior to growing.
  • Sow one or two seeds in module trays 1.5cm deep.
  • Thin out the weaker seedling once the plant starts to germinate.
  • Cabbage can be harvested throughout the year if the right varieties are sown. The different types of cabbage need to be sown at different times of the year as follows: summer cabbage is sown in April; autumn/winter cabbage is sown in May; and spring cabbage is sown in late July/early August.
  • The plants will be ready for transplanting in 4-6 weeks when they are around 12-15cm high.
  • Plant summer and autumn cabbage 45cm apart for smaller cabbage, or 60cm apart for larger cabbage.
  • Spring cabbage can be planted closer together at 10cm x 30cm and then thinned (to be used as spring greens), with the remainder left at 30cm each way to grow into mature spring cabbage.
  • Keep plants weed free and water if the soil gets too dry.
  • Earthing up stems will help the plant to support the head, particularly in a windy site.
  • Harvest spring and summer cabbages as soon as they have formed good compact heads.
  • Autumn and winter cabbages will stand much longer in the ground, but you can
    lift them and store in a cool shed if you want to clear your beds for the winter.
  • Harvest by cutting through the base of the stem.
  • Savoy ‘Vertus’
  • Capehorn
  • Red Drumhead
  • Stonehead F1 (summer)
  • January King (winter)
  • Cabbage, like all of the brassica family, has a wide range of pests and diseases.
  • If you don’t want to spray with poisonous chemicals the following should keep them healthy.
  • Make sure the ground is clear and slug free when transplanting – use a less toxic slug killer like iron phosphate if slugs seem to be a problem.
  • Use an insect mesh net to keep out cabbage fly, butterflies, aphids and pigeons.
  • You can test to see if the young seedling is planted firmly enough as follows: after planting, tug at a leaf, the leaf should pull off (as opposed to pulling the whole seedling out of the ground).
  • After harvesting a cabbage head, cut a cross into the stem – if left in the soil, each quadrant in the stem will sprout baby cabbage leaves, which effectively gives you a second crop from the one plant.