Planting Your First Organic Vege: The Cabbage

Planting Your First Organic Vege: The Cabbage

Cabbages aren’t all that difficult to grow. They just take a little patience and time and you’ll easily see the results within 90 to 125 days. Because the cabbage is suitable to most temperate climates and soils and require minimal attention, they are one of the easiest crops to grow.

Cabbages come in a variety of shades of green as well as purple or red. Most cabbage varieties have smooth leaves but the leaves of the Savoy cabbage are crinkly. Early varieties of cabbage will grow 1 to 3 pound heads, while the later varieties can produce heads weighing up to 8 pounds and more.

How to Grow Cabbage

  • These leafy vegetables can do well in both full sun and part shade.
  • They need fertile, slightly alkaline soil. The ideal site for cabbages is any well-drained ground, but they prefer a medium to light soil that will retain a reasonable amount of water. It is also important that the soil is firm because cabbages can get heavy when fully grown.
  • Be sure to space the plants 12 to 24 inches apart in rows of 2 ½ to 3 feet wide. Keep in mind that those heads are going to be pretty heavy when full grown, so you’ll want to set the plants a little deeper and firmer than most vegetables.
  • Dig a large hole to accommodate the plant. Place soil around the roots, filling the hole about halfway. Now fill the hole with water, let the water settle, then finish filling with soil.
  • If using cabbage seeds, make sure to sow the seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep. After you sow them, keep them moist and thin them out to desired spacing once they grow.

Caring for your Cabbage

Although cabbage does not require a great deal of care, do not allow them to dry out as this will impair their growth. Water your cabbages liberally during hot and dry weather.

Make sure you fertilise your plants when growing cabbage. Then add nitrogen as well when the cabbage is half grown. This helps them mature better. Make sure the soil is moist throughout the growing season so your cabbage produces better heads.

Hoe around the plants during the growing period to control the weeds and aerate the soil which will also deter insect pests from laying their eggs. A layer of garden compost around (but not touching) the plants will conserve water, prevent weeds and deter the insects.

Cabbages are greedy feeders and require plenty of fertilising during the growing period. As the plants mature, some of the leaves may turn yellow. Break off these discoloured leaves as soon as they appear.

When to Harvest

Cabbages are ready for harvesting when the hearts are firm. Lift the entire plant with a fork and cut the roots off at a later stage or cut the stem just above the base of the lower leaves, and discard the outer leaves which are too coarse for eating.

Once the cabbages have been cut and stored, the ground can be cleared. Remove the roots from the soil after the harvest so that disease is not encouraged.