How to plant cabbage

Brassica oleracea Groups Acephala or Brassica oleracea acephala variety

Brassica oleracea Grupo Costata or Brassica oleracea variety costata

Cabbages are plants of the same species as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Cabbages do not form compact leaf heads like cabbages, but free leaves. There are cultivars with leaves of different shapes and colors, which can be curly or smooth, wide or narrow, dark green, light green, purple, pink, white or whitish. Some cabbage cultivars, known as ornamental cabbages or ornamental cabbages, are very popular as garden plants and for table decoration, due to the colors and patterns of their leaves. Some other types of cabbages that are grown for human or animal consumption are butter or cabbage, cabbage or big cabbage, curly cabbage, forage cabbage and palm cabbage.

Cabbage leaves are usually eaten boiled or sautéed, but they can also be eaten raw, especially if they are the youngest leaves, although some people consider raw leaves to be indigestible. The leaves are very nutritious and contain glycosinolates that are converted to sulforaphane when cut or chopped, this being a substance that can prevent the appearance of cancers.


Cabbage is a vegetable that grows best in mild or cold weather, and some cultivars can survive even when the temperature reaches -10 ° C if the plants are already well developed. Some cabbage cultivars tolerate high temperatures, but cabbage is grown normally during autumn and winter in regions with warmer weather. During periods of heat the cabbage reduces its growth and the quality of the leaves produced is worse, both in size and appearance, as in flavor. In regions with a mild climate, cabbage can be grown all year round, although they are not sown during winter in places where it is severe.


Cultivate under high light conditions, with direct sunlight. In the hottest seasons of the year, providing partial shade in the hottest hours of the day can be beneficial for plants.


The soil must retain moisture well but it must be well drained, fertile, with good availability of nitrogen and rich in organic matter. The soil pH should be between 6 and 7.5.


The soil must always be kept moist, but without being soaked, as this could damage the roots and favor the appearance of diseases.


Planting can be done through seeds and some cultivars can also be propagated by shoots taken from adult plants. These shoots arise from axillary buds on the main stem, and should preferably be removed from the base of the plant, already approximately 20 cm long or more. The lateral sprouts of the cabbage are easily rooted in moist soil.

The seeds can be sown directly in the vegetable garden or they can be sown in sowing and other containers, with the seedlings being transplanted when they have 4 to 6 true leaves and are at least 10 cm tall. The transplant of the seedlings should preferably be done on cloudy and rainy days or in the late afternoon, irrigating soon afterwards. Sow the seeds approximately 1 cm deep. Germination normally occurs within a week or two.

The ideal spacing can vary with the cultivar and the growing conditions, but generally a spacing of 50 cm to 1 m between the cultivation lines and 25 to 50 cm between the plants is adequate. Within certain limits, the greater the spacing, the larger the plants and the larger their leaves.

Cabbage can also be grown in pots with a minimum of 25 cm in diameter and height.


Remove weeds that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Sometimes, depending on the cultivar, the plant can become very tall. In this case, it is possible to cut the end of the main stem to favor the development of the lateral shoots and thus keep the plant at a height considered comfortable for handling and harvesting. On the other hand, excluding or limiting the number of side shoots can stimulate the growth of leaves on the main stem.


Harvesting of cabbage leaves normally begins 10 to 16 weeks after planting. Younger plants may have their leaves harvested, but this can hinder plant growth. Avoid picking the leaves in the hottest hours of the day and leave at least the 5 youngest leaves on the stem. Leaves harvested after the occurrence of frost are believed to taste better. Under suitable conditions, cabbage can produce for a few years without the need for replanting.

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