Planting, Harvesting, Stopping Cabbage From Splitting and Other Garden Tricks

Growing cabbage is very easy this plant belongs in every serious vegetable garden.

Early Cabbage

If you want very early crops, sow the seed eight weeks before you intend to plant them in your garden. Sow the seed in flats about one quarter inch deep (too deep kills them). The easiest way to do this is lay the seed on a firmed bed of soil and then barely cover them (so you can just NOT see them) with more seedling soil.

Keep the soil temperature fairly high – 72F is minimum – and you’ll see seedlings in four to five days.

Once they emerge, drop the temperature immediately to 55-60F or you’ll produce long, leggy seedlings for sure.

They do require full sunlight or again, they’ll get long and leggy.



When To Transplant

About four to five weeks after seeding, your growing cabbage plants should have four true leaves (not the tiny seedling leaves) and be ready to transplant into a jiffy pot, a small flower pot or a transplanting pack. You want them to develop their own roots.

Approximately ten days before you want to plant them start leaving them outside in the daytime to harden them off. You want a tough plant, not a tender seedling that will croak under wind and sunlight. Bring them in at night to protect against frost and cold winds.

Early Planting

Note that if you harden them off properly, a very early crop can be put into the ground about the same time as you can dig and prepare the ground. (usually late April or early May in my garden). Hardened off plants can stand quite a bit of frost. (Conversely if you don't harden them off - they'll die if frosted.)

Cabbage plants do well in just about any soil although well drained, fertile soil is best. Soils high in organic matter produce the best crops.

Even moisture levels are important as well to stop splitting. You’ll often see splitting later in the season when they are given water after a dryish spell – they grow so fast they split.

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Old Trick To Stop Splitting

The old timers used to drive a shovel down beside the plant to cut off half its roots when it got big enough to harvest and eat. This prevented the plant from taking up too much more water and splitting. Enough roots remained to keep the plant alive and healthy.

Plant eighteen inches apart in rows. You can direct sow the seeds although direct sowing is generally reserved for later crops. The early cabbages need indoor starting if they are to be early. These guidelines are generally for all kinds of cabbage growing.

Problems are generally reserved for cutworms, aphids and cabbage worms and Bt or rotenone takes care of these problems.

Grower Trick To Get Four Small Cabbages After You Cut Off The Main Head

  • Step One: Harvest the main head by cutting off the main head and leaving as much stem as you can. Leave all the bottom leaves in place as well
  • Step Two: Cut a cross into the stem - from side to side - quartering the stem - approximately 1/2 inch deep.
  • Step Three: Feed and water as normal and watch
  • Step Four: In decently fertile soil it will take approximately 4-6 weeks to produce four small cabbage heads that you can then harvest.

  • cabbage

    Note the large stalk, and the how deep the cut is


    The final cross cut deeply into the stem.

    Final note: The extra four cabbages aren't massive but they're clearly big enough to eat - somewhere around fist size - and yes, they taste like any other cabbage.

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