How to Grow Cabbage Plant from Seed
How to Grow Cabbage Plant from Seed That Looks Amazing
My daughter brought home a Burpee cabbage start this year. They had a competition at school to see who could grow the biggest cabbage. Naturally, I have somewhat of a competitive nature, and I love to garden. Plus, I imagined my daughter seeing me as a hero because I could help her grow the biggest cabbage in her class. This competition intrigued me, so I decided to write an article on how to grow cabbage from seed.
How to Grow a Cabbage Seed
The first tip to help you grow a cabbage seed is to use high-quality ‘seed and cutting’ compost. This compost is a bit more expensive than your ordinary compost. But the good news is that you can start a lot of seeds with it.
Start your cabbage out in very small planting squares. Once they grow, you can transplant them into a little bigger pots, and then transfer them outside once it gets warm enough.
Fill the squares almost to the brim with the highest quality compost you can find. The next step is to add one cabbage seed, and a bit of soil to each tiny pot. Then, you’re going to want to very lightly pat down the surface. When seeds are small, they are very delicate and easily disturbed by heavy watering. In order to avoid heavy watering, fill up a spray bottle with water and spray your pots until the top inch is wet. Next, put your starts in an area of the house where they will be able to get a little of sunlight. You want to make sure to keep the starts above 55° for optimal growing.
When learning how to grow cabbage, you should know that the best time to start growing your cabbage is in the end of February or the beginning of March. That way by the time the temperatures warm up in May, you will already have a good-sized start to plant in your garden. Allowing your cabbage to have a full growing season, will give you the biggest head.
Harden Your Cabbage Before Planting
It is important to harden your cabbage before panting. Hardening is a process of getting the cabbage used to the outdoors before you transplant them outside. It may take a few days for your cabbage to adjust. The key is to bring them outside during the day, and then bring them in at night. Bringing them in at night is especially important when it is likely to frost. You may want to keep them out of full sunlight during this time so they can fully adjust. After about two or three days, they are ready to plant. Make sure that you space them evenly. A book I read on Square Foot Gardening suggests that cabbage needs a minimum of 12 inches. However, most cabbage can use a full 18 inches.
Another Good Tip When Planting Cabbage
Don’t plant 24 cabbages at the same time. You are not going to want to eat them when they’re all ripe. My recommendation is that you do successive planting for your cabbage. Plant what you’re going to eat. If you eat one head of cabbage every week, try planting three heads of cabbage at a time, three weeks apart. This way, you won’t grow more than you actually need. Another idea is to find someone else who is gardening, and see if they would like to do a trade. When you harvest your cabbage, maybe you can give them your extra heads, and maybe you could trade for something that you are not growing in your garden like blueberries, or strawberries.
Remember that cabbages do best when they get watered regularly. It is possible to grow cabbages in a hydroponic garden. Make sure that they get planted somewhere where the soil drains properly.
Fertilizing your cabbage plants in the summer is a really good idea. Ideally there are two times when you should fertilize. The first time is six weeks after transplanting your cabbage outside. And the second time you should fertilize is about six weeks before you plan to harvest. If you plan to harvest your plants in the beginning of October, you should fertilize them in the middle of August. The best type of fertilizer to use for cabbage plants is compost. Make sure the compost has been able to age a little, and that it is free of weeds.
Cabbage Is a Cool Weather Plant
Cabbage does pretty well even in cooler weather. As soon as temperatures get above freezing, you can plant them outside. As long as the temperature doesn’t get below freezing for more than a few hours, your cabbage plant should do just fine. If you plant cabbage in the middle of the summer, you might still be able to get a good head of cabbage by the end of the fall. Just make sure that you harvest right before the first day of frost.
How to Plant Cabbage
The best way to plant cabbages is to make sure there is at least 18 inches between each plant. The rows should also be apart. If you’re planning to walk between the rows, you may want to space them 30 inches apart. Even if it looks pretty sparse in the beginning, a cabbage plant actually grows pretty quickly. The more room they can have to grow, the better heads you’re going to get off of them when it is time to harvest.
Tip – Cabbages tend to go grow really well next to beans and peas. This is because beans can add nitrogen to the soil. If you plant around your cabbages, you will be able to fertilize them naturally, and get better heads of cabbage.
Tip – Cabbages tend to like soil that is a little more firm. Sometimes a firm soil helps protect their roots from being damaged by pests. When you transplant your cabbage outside, pack the soil lightly around the roots of each cabbage plant. Firm soil also helps the cabbage to place itself properly. Don’t till your soil before planting. Simply break up any of the dip in your garden from last year, and get started. Because cabbages do all right in the cooler weather, they are some of the first plants you plant in your garden.
Tip – If you have a greenhouse to help keep your cabbage and is a bit warmer during the winter, you can plant spring cabbages in October. By planting cabbages in October, they will be ready to eat in the spring. Please keep in mind that plants that you grow over the winter take a bit longer to grow, but can still give you a pretty good harvest.
What Are Some Things to Watch out for When Growing Cabbage?
The first thing to watch out for is club root. This is when the roots of your cabbage become a little swollen. You may also notice that the leaves start to turn yellow, and the cabbage doesn’t grow as well. If you get club root in one area of your garden, make sure to not plant cabbages therefore the next four or five years, because that area could still be affected with this disease. One way to help treat it is to make the soil a little more alkali by adding lime to it.
Caterpillars. Caterpillars are probably one of a gardener’s worst enemies. In hardly any time, they can eat through your tomatoes, your cucumber, and your cabbage. If you just have a home garden, there is no need to spray to get rid of these critters. All you need to do is spend a couple of minutes, find all the ones you can, and then squish them. If you have a very large garden, you may want to get an insect spray to help kill them and keep them from coming back.
Cabbages can also be susceptible to garden pests that eat the roots. Sometimes covering the bottom part of your cabbages with mulch, or with gardening fleece can help protect cabbages from frost and from insects.
The last thing to watch out for when you are learning how to grow cabbage is aphids. Aphids will usually weaken the plant by sucking out its juices.
More Tips for Growing Cabbage
By planting a large variety of cabbage plants, you can have them ripen at different times. For instance, by planting winter and red cabbage along with your green cabbage, you can have them ripen a month or two later. Also you can do succession planting to make sure you have a good crop of cabbage to last you until winter.
Sources: Garden of Eden