Cabbage is categorized as a cool-weather crop. They are a hardy biennial grown as a cool weather crop annually that can tolerate frost but not the heat. Here are the methods on how you can grow the cabbages by your own.
You need a soil rich in organic matter and that is well drained to grow cabbages. They grow best where the soil pH is between 6.5 and 7.5. You can add plenty of well aged compost to the planting beds before planting. Supplement the soil with nitrogen if the soil at your place is sandy or where there is heavy rain.
- Planting time
Long, cool growing season with temperatures of 45 to 75 Fahrenheit are the best condition to the cabbages to grow. Start sowing seeds indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring. You can sow the seed outdoors when the soil can be worked on in the spring. Put the transplants in the garden when they are 3 to 4 inches tall as early as 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. You can plant cabbage in late spring for a fall harvest if you are living in cool summer regions. If you are living in mild winter regions, start seeding in the late summer for a winter or spring harvest.
- Planting and spacing
Sow cabbage seeds ½ inch deep and spaced 1 inch apart, thin plants to 18 to 24 inches apart. You can transplant the cabbage to the garden where plants are 4 to 6 weeks old with 4 to 5 true leaves. Set leggy or crooked stemmed plants deeply until up to their true leaves. You can make the space seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Plant succession crops every 2 weeks or plant seeds and transplant at the same time. You can also plant early and midseason varieties at the same time so that they come to harvest at different times.
- Water and feeding
This vegetable requires regular and even watering. Stunted or cracked head cabbage is resulted from the uneven watering. When the cabbage reaches maturity, cut back on watering it to avoid splitting heads. Fertilize cabbage when the plants are established with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 10-3-3.
To prevent the cabbages from growing too fast and take up too much water, twist heads a quarter turn to separate some roots and interrupt water uptake a week in advance of harvest. Add nitrogen to the soil next season and plant earlier if the cabbage heads are small at harvest.
You can harvest the cabbages in 80 to 180 days from seed depending on the variety or in 60 to 105 days from transplants. To harvest, you can cut the cabbage when the heads are firm and the base of the head is 4 to 10 inches across. Harvest the cabbages before the weather becomes too warm. Cut the heads leaving out the leaves behind attached to the stem. You can keep the cabbage in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks or longer. Other ways of storing the cabbages are by drying, frozen, or cured in brine as sauerkraut.