How to Plant Cabbage

Cabbage is considered a hardy cool-weather vegetable and can be planted in either the early spring or fall. Available in numerous varieties and shades, cabbage is abundant in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and fiber. One of the keys to planting cabbage is to ensure the plants have slow, uninterrupted growth. Once you arm yourself with these tips on how to plant cabbage, you can be well on your way to enjoying the delicious vegetable.


  1. Image titled Plant Cabbage Step 1
    Purchase or prepare cabbage seedlings for planting. Hardened plants that can tolerate frosts may be planted as early as other cool-season plants, and the time of year to plant the seedlings is dependent upon where you live. Spring plants should produce before the heat of the summer and can be planted 4 weeks before the last frost. Fall cabbage is best to be in the ground 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost. You should also try to plant the seedlings on a cloudy or foggy day to minimize the shock of transplanting.
  2. Image titled Plant Cabbage Step 2
    Mix nitrogen fertilizer and compost with the soil with a garden fork. Cabbage requires three key items in the soil for growth: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The soil pH should be between 6.5 to 6.8 for optimum growth and to discourage certain diseases.
  3. Image titled Plant Cabbage Step 3
    Wear garden gloves, and space the plants 12 to 24 inches (30.5 to 61 cm) apart in a row, depending upon the variety and size of the cabbage head you desire. The narrower the rows, the smaller the heads. It is best to grow cabbage in full sun, but the plants can deal with partial sun. Plant in the ground at a depth level that is level with the first set of leaves.
  4. Image titled Plant Cabbage Step 4
    Water the seedlings regularly with a watering can or garden hose, applying 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) every week unless it rains. When the weather is warm, plants may need extra water. Ensure that weeds don't take over your plants by mulching the area. Mulch also keeps the soil temperature cool.
  5. Image titled Plant Cabbage Step 5
    Use a sharp knife to harvest the cabbage when the heads are firm and the interior is dense. Avoid waiting until the heads are overripe as they will split. Excess moisture will also cause the heads to split. You can leave the rest of the cabbage plant and harvest a later batch of cabbage sprouts, which will be 2 to 4 inches (5.1 to 10.2 cm) in diameter. Cabbage heads can be placed in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks if covered loosely with a plastic bag.


  • Cabbages thrive when planted with herbs, including dill, rosemary, chamomile and thyme. They also do well with other vegetables such as onions, peas, celery, potatoes and beets. You may want to plant cabbage where peas and beans grew the previous year since their roots contain rich nitrogen that cabbages desire.


  • Cabbage worms are a problem in growing cabbage. You should use row covers in the early stages of growth, which will prevent cabbage moths from laying eggs on the plant. If you see cabbage worms on your plant, you should manually remove them.

Things You'll Need

  • Cabbage seedlings
  • Nitrogen fertilizer and compost
  • Garden fork
  • Garden gloves
  • Watering can or garden hose
  • Mulch
  • Sharp knife
  • Plastic bag

Article Info

Categories: Growing Vegetables