How to grow Cabbages

Cabbages are a versatile crop. They can be eaten in salads, stir-fries, roasts and soups. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and it’s possible to grow them all year round. Due to the many varieties of cabbage, it’s important to pay attention to the spacing requirements on the pack, as different varieties will have different requirements.

How to sow cabbages from seed

Cabbages can be sown throughout the year depending on the variety. Sow them in a greenhouse or indoors, around 2cm deep in either pots or trays. After around 5-6 weeks, you can plant the seedlings out in the garden or allotment.

How to plant out

Cabbages grow well in a sunny sheltered spot in moist soil. Be sure to add plenty of organic matter before planting. Firm the plants into the soil. Cabbages like alkaline soil, so if you think your soil may be acidic, do a pH test and add lime to the soil if necessary.

When planting out, pay attention to the spacing requirements on the seed packet. As a general rule of thumb, grow spring cabbages 25-30cm apart, summer cabbages 35-40cm apart and autumn and winter cabbages between 45-55cm apart.

Care and pests

Keep your cabbages well watered and don’t let the soil dry out. Feed them every couple of weeks with a nitrogen liquid feed.

Pigeons and caterpillars of white butterflies are the main pests to look out for. Cover your crop with a fine mesh netting to keep the caterpillars off the cabbages. This will also help with the pigeons too.

Clubroot is a fungal infection that affects the brassica family which causes swollen, distorted roots and can stun plant growth. Once in the soil, it is very difficult to remove and can remain in the soil for up to 10 years.

Harvesting

To harvest your cabbages, simply cut the plant, leaving around a 10cm stalk and score a small cross in the stump, as this may encourage smaller cabbages to grow from it.

Varieties

Some of our favourite varieties include:

  • Sunta F1: An early, green, summer cabbage with firm, uniform heads and a sweet flavour. Very consistent in texture, both inside and out.
  • Wheelers Imperial: Incredibly reliable overwintering green cabbage.
  • Dutchman F1: A unique, ‘sweetheart’ style of cabbage with leaves so sweet they can be eaten raw and can be grown all year round.

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