Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: Brassica oleracea
Cultivar Group: Capitata Group
Plant Data
Min germination temp: 4°C (39°F)
Max germination temp: 29°C (84°F)
Germination time: 8 days
Time to transplanting: +51 days
Time to harvesting: +111 days
Mature height: 30cm (12in)
Mature spread: 60cm (23in)
Soil type: Peat
Ideal pH range: 6.0 - 7.5
Sow depth: 1.2cm (½in)
Sow spacing: 8cm (3in)
Growing plant spacing: 30cm (12in)
Growing row spacing: 38cm (15in)
(Figures are for an average of cabbage types. For more specific data see individual varieties)

The cabbage is a popular cultivar of the brassica family. They are grown for their leaves, which are usually green, but in some varieties are red or purple.




Pick a reasonably sunny spot where no other brassica has been grown for the previous 2 years. Preferably choose a bed where peas or beans were grown last year, these plants fix nitrogen in the soil that the cabbages will use.


Cabbage prefers firm soil to root into. It is advisable to leave several months after digging before planting. Dig in plenty of well rotted manure or organic matter in Autumn. Don't use manure too close to planting time as it makes the soil acidic. Ensure the soil is not acidic before planting time, lime if necessary in winter, you should aim for a pH of 6.5 - 7.0. Acid conditions inhibit growth and encourage club root.


Seedlings can be sown in modules and transplanted to their final positions. If sowing in the ground; sow thinly 1.5cm (½in) deep and leave 15cm (6in) between rows.


Seedlings are ready to transplant when they have 5 or 6 leaves. Water the plants the day before transplanting. In their final positions; leave 30cm (12in) between plants for compact varieties, 45cm (18in) for large headed types. For spring cabbage leave only 10cm (4in) between plants but maintain 30cm (12in) between rows, the thinnings will provide spring greens in March. Cabbages like compacted soil, so ensure you firm them into place. Avoid re-transplanting later.

A netting dome protecting a brassica bed from pests


Birds are a problems for seedlings and butterflies and their caterpillars for all plants. Protect against both by covering plants with a fine netting.


Harvest cabbages by cutting horizontally close to the ground with a sharp knife. With spring and summer varieties; cut a cross in the remaining stump to grow a secondary crop of small cabbages from it. In March thin out the spring cabbage rows and use the young plants as spring greens. The remaining plants can be left for cutting in April or May.


Most cabbages are cut when needed. To store red and winter cabbages, cut off roots and stems, remove outer leaves and place in a straw-lined box in a cool, dry place. The heads should keep until March.


Full troubles list: Brassica troubles


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Cabbage varieties
Spring cabbage
Summer cabbage Filderkraut · Primo 2
Winter cabbage Offenham
Savoy cabbage
Red cabbage Ruby ball
Chinese cabbage