Growing Cabbage

Savoy cabbage with crinkled leaves tolerates frost

Savoy cabbage has pretty crinkled leaves and is among the most frost-tolerant cabbage varieties, making it a great choice for fall gardens.

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable suited to both spring and fall. It belongs to the cole crop family (Brassica oleracea), which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. The trick to growing cabbage is steady, uninterrupted growth. That means rich soil, plenty of water, and good fertilization.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Set out new spring plants early enough so that they can mature before the heat of summer, about 4 weeks before the last frost. Plant 2 or 3 varieties with different maturities for a longer harvest. You can also plant through black plastic to help warm the soil in spring. New plants just out of a greenhouse need to be protected from freezing weather. Plant fall cabbage 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost. Growing plants that have been exposed to cool weather become “hardened” and are tolerant of frost. Cabbage that matures in cool weather is deliciously sweet. Like most vegetables, cabbage needs at least 6 hours of full sun each day; more is better. It also needs fertile, well-drained, moist soil with plenty of rich organic matter. The soil pH should be between 6.5 and 6.8 for optimum growth and to discourage clubroot disease.

cabbage transplant in fertile soil

Cabbage needs fertile soil and adequate moisture from the time you set out the plants. Stunted plants won’t recover if stressed.

To be sure about your soil pH, get the soil tested. You can buy a kit or have a soil test done through your regional Cooperative Extension office. Apply fertilizer and lime if needed, using the results of the soil test as a guide.

In the absence of a soil test, add nitrogen-rich amendments such as blood meal, cottonseed meal, or composted manure to the soil or work a timed-release vegetable food such as 14-14-14 into the soil before planting. Or you may instead choose to feed regularly with Bonnie Vegetable & Herb Food. The plants love the liquid feeding.

Cabbage is easy to transplant. Set plants so that 1-2″ of the main stem is buried. Space according to directions on the Bonnie label. Generally, this is 12 to 24 inches apart in a row, depending upon the variety and the size of head it makes. For maximum size, be generous with the spacing. The Bonnie Mega-Cabbage, for example, needs all the room you can give it!

Cabbage demands even moisture to produce good heads. Mulch with compost, finely ground leaves, or finely ground bark to keep the soil cool and moist and to keep down weeds. Water regularly, applying 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week if it doesn’t rain. You can measure the amount of water with a rain gauge left in the garden.

Fertilize plants again with a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or 20-20-20 after they begin to develop new leaves and when they start forming heads.

Troubleshooting

A cabbage leaf with holes is a sign that cabbage loopers or worms may be eating the plant.

Holes in a cabbage’s leaves are a sure sign that cabbageworms or cabbage loopers may be attacking the plant. Look for these green pests on the underside of leaves and pick them off.

The best way to avoid problems is to keep your cabbage healthy and keep your garden clean. The main insect pests include cabbage loopers, slugs, imported cabbageworms, cabbage root maggots, aphids, and flea beetles. Disease problems include black leg, black rot, clubroot, and yellows. To prevent diseases from building up in the soil, avoid planting cabbage or other cole crops in the same spot each year. Rotate with a non-cole crop for 2 years before returning to the same spot.

Harvest and Storage

A hand squeezes a cabbage head to determine if it’s ready to harvest.

Squeeze the cabbage head to test whether it’s ready to harvest or not. If the head feels solid and firm, it’s ready to be cut from the base of the plant. If it feels loose, leave it in the garden to harden up a little longer.

Cabbage is ready to harvest when the head forms, right? No, sometimes they look ready, but they aren’t. You can test the head’s solidity by squeezing it. A head that looks solid and ready may still be flimsy and loose leafed on the inside. When it feels firm, cut the head from the base of the plant. Some varieties hold well in the garden for weeks, while others need to be cut soon after the heads are firm. Our descriptions of Bonnie cabbage varieties indicate which ones hold best. If a head cracks, cut it right away. If you want to experiment, you can leave the harvested plant in the garden. If the weather is still cooperative, they develop loose little heads below the cut that are fun to serve as mini cabbages. Heads keep for several weeks in the fridge.

FAQs

Why do butterflies fly around my cabbage plants?

Those butterflies (white or brown) are probably the moths of cabbage worms. They lay eggs on the plants. The eggs hatch into the worms that cause considerable damage unless controlled. Most control strategies are aimed at the developing larvae rather than the mature moths themselves.

Why are there holes in my cabbage leaves?

Your plant is probably being chewed by cabbage loopers or cabbageworms. Treat the cabbages with a product containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) such as Dipel¨, a biological-type insecticide. This must be eaten by the worm and is activated in the worm’s alkaline gut. The worm then dies slowly from terminal constipation. This takes two to three days, which means the worms are not killed immediately.

What causes large, lumpy swellings of my cabbage roots?

Swellings and distorted roots on stunted, wilted plants are symptoms of clubroot, a disease caused by a fungus that remains in the soil for years once it becomes established. It is spread by moving infested soil and by infected transplants. Other cole crops (like broccoli and cauliflower) are susceptible. Destroy infected plants (including the roots) and for at least four years avoid planting any member of the cabbage family there, including radishes, turnips, and ornamental relatives of cabbage. To discourage the disease, add lime to raise the soil pH to 6.8.

What can I do to prevent my cabbage heads from splitting?

Splitting is caused by the pressure of excess water taken up after the heads are solid, or water being taken up quickly after dry weather. Cutting the roots (spading on two sides of the plant) or breaking the roots (lifting and twisting the head to one side) may reduce splitting or bursting, but it also damages the plant and requires that you harvest soon.

What causes cabbage to develop seed stalks rather than solid heads?

All cabbage will either head up or go to seed at some point in time. Cabbage plants “bolt” (form premature seed stalks) when exposed to low temperatures (35 to 45 degrees F) for extended periods if plants are set out too early or if an unseasonable blast of cold assaults the garden. After the plants have stems as large as a pencil, they are vulnerable to this “cold conditioning,” which initiates the flowering.

198 Comments

Sharon Gowin

I have planted lots of cabbage plants this year to make sour kraut. Someone told me that I will have larger heads if I cut off the outer leaves. Is this correct? I have not had this confirmed, so I’m afraid to cut the leaves.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Sharon,
I am not sure if that is true or not. I do remove some of the larger leaves during the season…to make cabbage rolls :) – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Sara

I’m not much of a gardener by from a Agro science perspective cutting off the larger outer leaves reduces the photosynthetic ability of the plant which will slow its growth. The plant will grow faster if there is a larger surface area of leaves which are able to access more sunlight. Maybe this will help?
A little experiment could never go astray with removing some of the outer leaves of half your cabbages and leaving others on the other half of your cabbages.

I am researching a brassica market farm at the moment and I’m almost certain the farmer does not remove outer leaves and still gets excellent, larger cabbages. Cabbages respond more to the nitrogen content in the soil more than any other factor. You could try companion planting with a nitrogen fixer such as clover to increase your cabbage head sizes.

Cheers, Sara

kathy davis

I planted chinese cabbage about 2 wks ago, they are really growing, but today when I looked at them I noticed that they are forming a head that resembles broccoli. They couldn’t possibly be bolting already, could they? I live in coastal Oregon, we have an extremely mild climate, no extreme weather. Is that what they should look like? Just the larger ones that I planted first are doing that.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kathy,
When a Chinese cabbage bolts, the small unopened flower buds do resemble broccoli heads – which are the unopened flower buds. A couple of reasons that Chinese cabbage will bolt or form a flower head – exposure to low temperatures (35 to 45 degrees F) for extended periods. After the plants have stems as large as a pencil, they are vulnerable to this “cold conditioning,” which initiates the flowering. Bolting also occurs when warm temperatures rocket in early spring. If you are unsure about your Chinese cabbage, you can upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

DEE POLITO

Danielle
I have planted cabbage in 2011 and 2012 for this yr.
they formed beautiful leaves, but the cabbage didnt form the normal tight heads. I also did the red cabbage,(2012) only one formed the tight head. What am I doing wrong? By the way we do container gardening. Everything else we grow, grows beautifully. They are all planted in the same lg. 4×8- 8″deep
bx. beautiful leaves, but not tight heads. dee

Danielle Carroll

Hello Dee,
I am not sure where you are gardening, but spring and early summer heat can attribute to loose heads. Cabbages grow best when temerpatures are in the 60’s. When they head up under higher temperatures, they often produce loose heads followed by flowers. I grow cabbages in the late winter, but they grow best for me in the Fall. Loose heads have also been attributed to excessive fertilization and insufficient water. Hope this helps. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Kielly

Hi Danielle,
We started cabbage last year and we ended up getting some pretty good cabbage heads. The plants survived the winter but it doesn’t seem like they are going to form another head. They are growing straight up and it looks like they are going to flower. Will they not form heads? Is there anything I can do? Thanks.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Kielly,
If the cabbages are starting to flower, the life cycle is pretty much over with. Enjoy the pretty flowers, I have been enjoying them for weeks now. Pollinators love them. It will be time to plant cabbage again soon :)

irahappy1

mine also lasted the winter after cutting off nice firm heads last fall. They have flowered and now seem to be forming multiple little heads. Why do I need to put out new plants or seeds each year? Why is it not ok to just let them cycle through and grow again the next year?
Please explain.

Danielle Carroll

Hello,
You can let the plants cycle through. You still have some vigor in your plant – thus the smaller heads forming. While it may be possible to get a couple of harvests, a cabbage will not produce much more than that. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

boundary%

I constantly spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s articles
or reviews every day along with a cup of coffee.

Danielle Carroll

Coffee and gardening go hand in hand :) – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

chris nelson

if the cabbage is flowering already do I need to harvest or will it still form a head? also if I can’t harvest do I need to harvest the seeds and if so how do I do that?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Chris,
If your cabbage plant is bolting, a head won’t form. Harvest your cabbage soon after bolting if you want to use the leaves. If you leave it too long, the leaves will taste bitter. You can let the flowers bloom and set seeds. I always let a few cabbage flower in the garden – pollinating insect love the flowers. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Lisa

We live in Arkansas. When should the mega cabbages be planted outside?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Lisa,
This is your year round planting guide from your state extension system. It is time to plant it outside. Cabbage grows well in cold / cool weather. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hello Sophia,
You can find specific directions under the soil, planting, and care tab on this page. Set plants deeply so that about half of the main stem is buried and follow the spacing recommendation on the tag. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Patty W

My son just brought home his 3rd grade cabbage plant. We live in an apartment in Bothell, WA – not a lot of sunny days, lots of rain, lots of cold weather, no garden area. I would like to plant it in a pot. Am I kidding myself? Help! I’ve never grown any kind of veggies before and am a newbie to gardening!
Thanks!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Patty,
Plant away. Cabbages grow well in containers, but your mega cabbage will need a big one! This is the page to the Bonnie Cabbage Program. If you scroll down on the page, you will see details on container planting the cabbage. Good Luck! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Terri Doyel

I have had my cabbage plant for three years now and each year all it does is bolt. I never get a head. Will I ever get a head? What am I doing wrong. It gets lots of sunshine and lots of water and fertilizer.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Terri,
Cabbage bolting is related to temperature. Plants will become dormant in very cold temperatures and bolt when they start to grow again. Warm weather can also trigger early flowering. Cabbages do not usually form heads after bolting. :( Looks like it is time to replant the cabbage. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Melanie

Hi my 3rd grader brought home a smalawhaven’t been able to plant outside due to storms and flooding we transferwithin a few days but a couple of the leaves are turning yellow and are crunchy will the plant still make it.

Nora

I’ve been trying to grow cabbage for a couple of years now, and my plants never seem to grow a head. Lots of leaves and they get big and colorful, but no head. What am I doing wrong?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Nora,
Do the plants ever go to seed? All cabbage will either form a head or flower and go to seed. Cabbage plants form premature seed stalks when exposed to low temperatures (35 to 45 degrees F) for extended periods if plants are set out too early. Cabbage also needs a constant supply of moisture and they are heavy feeders – requirements to form a cabbage head. – Danielle,, Bonnie Plants

Alicia

Hi, i transplanted 3 cabbages about a month ago. They took the transplant really well, and had about 4-7 nice sized leaves on each. One morning, a few days ago, i came out an noticed a whole, large leaf was missing from my cabbage! It didnt rain that night, nor was it windy enough to blow a snapped leaf away. Now each night ive lost a whole leaf from each plant. And its not lying around anywhere in my fenced yard. Previous to this, there were no holes or chew marks on any of the leaves. and there is no sign of caterpillers. Ive been checking many times a day. Could a raccoon be eating a leaf each night? Or a rabbit? Ive never seen or heard of rabbits around here being a problem. Help!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Alicia,
It doesn’t sound like the insects are munching if there were not signs like holes in the leaves or chew marks. Scout and take a look for signs of insects…if you do not ‘see’ an insect, there are other things to look for. Keep an eye out for the frass – insect poop along the soil or on other leaves. Yes, there are a few animals that will eat cabbage plants. This University of Massachusetts publication can help identify damage from different animals. If you do decide that you may have an unwelcomed visitor, there are deterrents available in home improvement stores, but most have to be reapplied often. You may consider a small fence (or cat!) or barrier to keep the pests out. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Tony

I started growing the mega cabbage last year for my son third grade class. The cabbage didn’t do well so I took the cabbage this year and replanted it. Its actually growing very fast this year. My only worry is at what week does the actual cabbage begin to grow and at the very top of the cabbage is looks like it have so many tiny little plants growing out the top. Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong? I feed it miracle grow food and water.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Tony,
It sounds like your cabbage plants are starting to bolt – or from premature seed stalks. This can happen when exposed to low temperatures (35 to 45 degrees F) for extended periods if plants are set out too early or if an unseasonable blast of cold assaults the garden. This is a picture of kale flowering for you to compare. If your cabbage is starting to flower, th plant will start to grow very tall very sending out the flower stalks. Let me know what you see. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Heather

We planted my son’s 3rd grade cabbage right after receiving it about 6-8 weeks ago. We planted it in a large 24″ barrel planter as we have no where to plant it. It has grown and been the MOST fun….my son is autistic and you would have thought he had brought home a puppy! My question is how do you know when it has finished growing? It is producing two heads next to each other….both are a bit smaller than a baseball at the moment. The large leaves are about 3 feet from side to side. I am having to water it every couple of days as the temps are getting up in the 80s here in lower Alabama. Will it be able to continue to grow in the planter? I’m afraid to transfer it….we’ve never grown anything but after this I will definitely continue with a container garden! If I try to put it in a bed what do I need to do to prepare it? We really don’t want to kill it.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Heather,
No need to move the plant, you should have plenty of room in your container. Your cabbage will be ready to harvest in 10 – 12 weeks from the time you planted it. You can read about the cabbage program here. Happy to hear your son is enjoying watching the cabbage grow. Children and gardening go hand in hand. Enjoy! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

amaya

i got a 3rd grade cabbage but it fell down and now it droops i have not put it in the ground yet because it is freezing outside

Danielle Carroll

Hi Amaya,
Your cabbage plant will need to be planted as soon as you can. They are cool weather plants and can tolerate colder temperatures than other veggies. The small container it is in now will dry out quickly! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

emilio

I am a 3 grade and it just snowed and I don’t know how to plant one whan it just snowed :(

Danielle Carroll

Hello Emilio,
Where are you from? I can help you with planting dates. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Sara

I just got a cabbage. I do not know the age. I can’t plant it outside because of rabbits, squirrels, cats and my 3 dogs. Do you have any advice on how to care for a cabbage inside.

Danielle Carroll

Caring for a cabbage plant indoors may be a lot of work, Sara. Proper sunlight is a limiting factor and additional lighting is often necessary. I suggest you watch a few videos by our friend P. Allen Smith that might give you some ideas:

How to Defend Your Garden from Groundhogs, Rabbits, and Squirrels

You may also consider growing in a container with a supported net to protect the plant. With a fenced in raised bed you could grow more veggies protected from the critters.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

shelbey

dear people,
what do you use because i have cats ,rabbits , birds , squirrels that always go in my yard. last year in the summer they ate all of mt thing in my garden so i wqas not very happy. because they ate my cabbage and all my other plant in my garden. if you have the name of that sprinkle stuff. because i want to use it when i plant it if they have that at the store neer me.
if you have any request please email me at shelbeygirl514@yahoo.com

Danielle Carroll

Hi Shelbey,
The best way to keep out cats, rabbits, birds, and squirrels is by excluding them from the garden, which usually means a fence. Scarecrows will work for birds, but it works better if you move the scarecrow from time to time around the garden. Here are a lot of helpful hints from West Virginia Univeristy that I am sure you can use. Good Luck! Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Alicia Dortch

My son is in the 3rd grade. He came home with a cabbage plant . We have been taking care of it and its outside but now yellow bugs are coming on it. What can I do about the bugs

Danielle Carroll

Hello Alicia,
Darn insects! Pests include cabbage loopers, slugs, imported cabbageworms, cabbage root maggots, aphids, and flea beetles. If you see caterpillars or another leaf eating insect, usually handpicking will be your best form of control. Take a look at this detailed cabbage pest ID publication from Univeristy of Kentucky extension system. For the small aphid pests, a blast of water can know them from the cabbage and insecticidal soaps can be used fro control. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

maryann

Hello – Great web site! Nice cabbage dialog. Here is my question. I am a small CSA farmer who just had a misfortunate disaster. I was away for the day, a chicken got lose from the run and into the rows. In addition to scratching up peas she ate the first set of true leaves off approximate 70, 7 week old cabbage seedlings. Before the chicken attack they were very healthy and had been hardened off for a week and planted 24hrs before….what are the odds they will recover?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Maryann,
Bad Chicken! If the chicken just ate the first set of true leaves off and left others, you will be ok. If those were the only leaves, I would give it a few days to see if there is any green coming on. But if that is the case, odds are not good. Let me know how it goes.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

wilton bogan

i love your savoy cabbage.

i got it at farmes co-op in live oak fla.

they said they conot get it no more

please get some more at that store.

thank you

Danielle Carroll

I will pass the word along!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

madison

Hi,
My name is Madison, and I am trying to grow a cabbage for my third grade class project. Wish me luck

shiloh

i got my cabbage 2 weeks ago i thought i could grow it bu it is droopy and the bottom leaves are yellow.what should i do?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Shiloh,
A lot of vegetable plants may look a little droopy after they are transplanted especially if there roots were damaged in the process. What type of soil is the cabbage growing in? Make sure it is well draining and does not hold too much water which can suffocate delicate roots. If you did not put fertilizer in the soil before you planted, your plant may be ready for some! -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Mary Beth

Hi Maya, That’s great news! You have a very BIG future ahead with this cabbage, we know. Follow the steps here on how to plant and nurture your cabbage. With this variety, you will need lots of space, such as a 4 foot x 4 foot area when it is at its largest size. Be sure to look for cabbage loopers, or little green caterpillars, on the underside of the leaves. Pull them off and put in soapy water, to prevent them from eating your cabbage. For this and other instructions, as well as fun photos of what to expect, read the http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com website. Good luck! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Madison

Me to I got mine in April fools for the third grade program. 2013

Jme

My daughter got 3rd grade cabbage plant today. Her grandpa would be the one to help. But hes not here. I take this plant and will put it in a pot first so she can take it back to school. Do I rough up the bottom before placing in the fertilized pit? Then do I keep it outside or inside. She has a desk in her room that gets TONS of sunlight. I’m scared of the backyard cause of the dogs and the front doesn’t get as much light. You say one to two inches a weeknof water? Is that over periods of days or all at once. I can find a place out front. But we get 60mph winds sometimes. How would it fend in that weather? She is so excited and imbthe worst at planting. My dad didn’t pass his green thumb to me at all. In fact I think its black. So i. have this implanted cabbage and i dont have get a base for it. Would a cup or large ziplock bag work for the night? Then… what d

Mary Beth

Not to worry. Our article above tells you step-by-step how to plant and care for this little guy. The one thing that is different with this variety of cabbage is that it will grow much larger than others, so make sure it has a 4-foot square area when it’s larger. Many gardeners grow it first in a large pot and then transplant it into a bigger space when it’s time. You will want to grow this outdoors, not inside. If you have issues with it potentially getting trampled or wind-damaged, you can install a small 2′ tall mesh plastic fence around the border of the bed perhaps? As for watering, make sure the plant doesn’t dry out and water when the top few inches of soil are no longer moist. Depending on the weather where you live, that could be every 4 days or every 2 days. You and your daughter might enjoy looking through the instructions and photos on our website, http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com. Good luck and have fun together! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Lisa

Can the 3rd grade cabbage be grown in a container? If so how big does it need to be?

Mary Beth

Hi Lisa,
So glad to hear you are growing that cabbage! As you can see from the photos on http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com, you’ll ideally want a 4×4′ raised bed or large space in the garden soil. You can grow it in a large pot until it’s ready to be transplanted into a bigger space, if that helps. If you keep it in a smaller container, it will still mature, it will just not be as large as its potential. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Kim Chavarria

The neighbors goats ate all my cabbage plants . Do I need to replant the cabbage again, or will they grow back?

Mary Beth

Oh no! Goats will eat everything in sight…including your prized cabbages. If they ate the plants down to the ground, you’ll need to replant. If they nibbled outer leaves, you’ll be fine. A little known fact about cabbages: when the mature heads are harvested and a bit of stem and leaves are left intact, a handful of small heads will form afterwards. Sounds like you need to pick up a few more cell packs of cabbages, though. Maybe your neighbor can trade a little goat milk with you? :) ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

emilio

the bad newes is that it won’t grow back and youl have’t to buy new ones and thays no good newes

Clarke

Trying cabbage for the first time here in Piedmont region of Virginia. Going to transplant my slips tomorrow. Main concern is with insects. Nothing worse than harvesting a bug filled head of cabbage. Any suggestions appreciated.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Clarke,
Sounds like you are thinking ahead. There are quite a few insects that like cabbage as much as I do. Always best to identify the insects before spraying – different insecticides control different insects. This guide from CLemson University Extension has colorful pictures of cabbage insects as well as control methods in your area of the world.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Pilar

My daughter just got her cabbage plant yesterday. I have no clue where to start. I have never gardened before. We live in Eastern Washington. Any advice? Where to start? Thank you!

Mary Beth

Hi Pilar, Thanks for writing. So glad to hear you are joining the fun. This article is the best step-by-step guide for growing cabbages at home. You might also want to see the photos and read the instructions at http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com. The best advice is to give it PLENTY of space, regular watering and fertilizing, and have fun tracking its progress. Definitely watch out for cabbage loopers, or caterpillars, and remove those before they make lace of the leaves. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

To I

Hi there, my daughter Recieved her 3rd grade cabbage and it was wilted. We watered it, transplanted it, put it in the Souther Arizona sun, and it’s still struggling. We put in a pot with moisture control soil hoping it wouldn’t dry out, but we’ve had to water daily as it’s home dry! Should I start over, in the ground with a new plant?

Danielle Carroll

Hello –
It is not uncommon for a new transplant like cabbage to wilt a little when it is transplanted. After all, its roots (the water conductors) have been tampered. If your plant is perking up, I would keep it watered (but not overwated) until it becomes established. See more tips on growing these large cabbages here.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi there,
Cabbage is a very hardy vegetable plant once established. Older plants withstand the snow and tempmeratures in the low 20s – upper teens. Hopefully you will be having cabbage stir fry soon.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi Hannah,
I am not sure I understand your question. If you are asking if the cabbage is loose leaf like lettuce, you will have some larger loose leaves (older) around the cabbage head that forms in the middle.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Anya

no it will not unless you cover it with a bucket or some kind of plastic.

kenny

i planted my Bonnie hybird cabbage an 3-15-13 on a 60degree day with an excellent above freezing forecast. now that has changed and are forecast 30to 34 degrees for the next four nights.my question is do i need to cover these young cabbage plants for the next four nights. i am located in far western kentucky. thank you in advance for lyour assistance.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kenny,
New transplants are not tolerant of freezes since they have not been hardened off yet. Cabbage plants that have been growing in the cold oudoors will not only withstand forst, but are extremely winter hardy.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi Suwan,
Yellowing of leaves can mean different things. Sometimes older leaves (lower leaves) on cabbage start to turn yellow to brown as the cabbage head matures. Lower leaves may also start to yellow if the cabbage plants have not been fertilized adequately, they are heavy feeders. You can do some more troubleshooting here. Remember to rotate your cabbage plants and other members of the family so they are not grown in the same area of the garden each year for success. – See more at: http://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-cabbage/#comments
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Vi

I am helping my 9 year old with her 3rd grade Cabbage, we are growing it in a container since we live in an appartment (Florida) and do not get enough sun, any special advise? I used Miracle Grow and we have not really fertilize it after planting it on the pot. Is growing but the botton leaves keep yellowing and later falling.

Thanks,

Danielle Carroll

Hello Vi,

Is the cabbage growing indoors or on a balcony? Cabbage requires full sun to grow properly. Full sun means at least 6 – 8 hours (or more!) of uninterrupted sunlight everyday. Indoors, this means additional lighting is necessary to help the plant grow properly. If there is any way to move the plant so it gets more sunlight? It would help. Cabbage plants are heavy feeders. Follow the directions on the bottle of fertizlier as to amounts and frequency.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Matthew

how often should the Bonnie’s 3rd grade gabbage be watered? and how much?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Matthew,
A cabbage will need about an inch of water per week, and that water needs to come from you if it doesn’t rain. Cabbages grown in containers will have to be watered more often since the soil will dry out faster. It is best to water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root systems. Since soils are different, this may mean every 2 – 4 days. Mulching around vegetable plants helps the soil to retain moisture, and helps with weeds that compete with the cabbages for water and nutrients. Good Luck!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi Coco,
Gardening is a great hobby to have!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi KJ,
You are absolutely right!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Andrew,
Sorry to hear you are having cabbage trouble. Yellowing of leaves can mean different things Sometimes older leaves (lower leaves) on cabbage start to turn yellow to brown as the cabbage heaad matures. Lower leaves may also start to yellow if the cabbage plants have not been fertilized adequately, they are heavy feeders. You can do some more troubleshooting here. Remember to rotate your cabbage plants and other members of the family so they are not grown in the same area of the garden each year for success.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Johnathan,
I am sure your brother appreciates your help with his cabbage!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi Destiny,
I would like to help you. What are you having problems with?
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

courtney

Hi…im helping my daughter with her 3rd grade cabbage plant. ….its starting to turn yellow…should it be picked yet..or should we let it grow more..

Danielle Carroll

Hi Courtney,
I’m not sure when your cabbage was planted, but it is usually ready to harvest 10 – 12 weeks after planting. You may try squeezing the head to see if it feels full or loose. a full, solid head is ready to be harvested. If it is not time to havest yet, be sure and fertilize regulary and keep the soil moist for healthy growth. Here are some more tips on growing cabbages from the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Grandma

I’m helping my granddaughter with her 3rd grade cabbage program and would love some help with planting her cabbage, we live in a apartment and tomorrow it is going to snow, I hate for her cabbage to die…any idea’s?

Danielle Carroll

Hello!
Always happy to hear about a 3rd grader planting their cabbage! You can read all about growing a healthy cabbage here. If you will be growing the cabbage in a container, this article will give you great growing tips for doing just that. If you can not plant it just yet, be sure and give the cabbage plenty of light and keep the soil moist until you can.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Maria

I just tranfered my bonnie cabbage plant form a smaller pot into a bigger pot, but after i transfered it, the leaves of the cabbage becomes soggy, it’s not firm anymore. what does this means?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Maria,
The roots of the cabbage plant may have been damaged in the transfer. Keep the container soil, but make sure it has plenty of drainage. Use a good potting mix as well for best growth. For more tips on growing in containers, check out this article on container gardening.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Keaton Harvey

live in taylor,s s. c. when can i plant my cabbage out side.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Keaton,

In this gardening publication from Clemson University Cooperative Extension, you will find the planting dates for the most commonly grown veggies in your area. Depending on where your town is located on the map, you could be cabbage planting from mid February through the end of March.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Misty

I am helping my son with his cabbage he just received from his 3rd grade, we live in central Oklahoma and it is the 1st of March. We have planted it in a large pot at this time due to night and day temp. Can get below 32. Can we set it outside in the day when it is 40 then bring it back in at night and do this tell last frost? Then we would like to transplant it to our garden, we want to make sure it can be a safe move or should it stay in the pot?
Thank you for your help we are hoping for a great big cabbage to share:)

Misty

Danielle Carroll

Hi Misty,
Cabbages can be planted in the garden prior to the last frost of the season. In Oklahoma, that is usually late February to early March according to the planting guide from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension System. They also have a publication on growing cabbage in Oklahoma. Thank you for participating in the program. You can find all you may want to know about the program, trouble shooting your plant, and harvesting, here.
-Danielle

Danielle Carroll

Hi Emilio,
If you let me know what area you are in, I can get the planting dates for you. New transplants just out of a greenhouse need to be protected from freezing weather…you can do this by covering the plants at night with a bucket or fabric cloth. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hello Madison,
Set out spring transplants early enough so that they can mature before the heat of summer, about 4 weeks before the last frost. You may call your local county extension office to find the last frost in your area. You can find your gardening zone here.
-Danielle

Tina

I have a cabbage plant I had since october and the head is full, is it time to cut it

Mary Beth

Hi Tina,
It sounds like your cabbage is ready. The signs you want to look for are a firm, full head. If you squeeze the head lightly, it should feel heavy and tight. Cut it off at the root, remove any of the outer leaves that aren’t desirable and enjoy. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Lisa

Hi,

Our local Home Improvement store had all the cold weather plants available for purchase. Although, I thought it may be early to plant them yet. I live in zone 6A – it seems a little early to plant right now. Is it ? thanks

Mary Beth

Hi Lisa,
It’s not so much about your zone with regards to vegetable plants (mostly). It’s a better gauge to go by frost dates, or the tolerance of freezing temperatures. This article and map explains how to find your first and last frost dates. For cabbage, it’s a cool-season plant and can withstand lower temperatures. I’m not sure where you live, but if the soil is workable and the temps are not below 30s at night, those seedlings will do fine. If you get them in the ground and have a frost warning while they are still small, simply cover them with an upside down bucket or frost blanket. Or, if you garden with a hoop house, you can start a little earlier and “cheat” the season. Happy growing. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

jon

i am growing cabbage as well as tommatos , bell peppers, iceberg lettuce , and jack-o-lantern pumpkins . scince planting the cabbage the plants have doubled in size and are healthy i planted them in october . there are a few small leaves in the center of the plants but im not sure if the smaller leaves in the middle are the staring point of the heads or will they continue to produce leaves and not heads ?

Mary Beth

Hi Jon,
It’s hard to say without knowing where you live, the temperatures, and how they’ve been fertilized and cared for, but I do believe those small leaves in the middle will form a head. Hopefully it will have enough time to form during ideal cooler temperatures before longer days encourage it to flower and set seed. Where do you live that you have cabbages and tomatoes growing right now? ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

jon

hi and thank you for your responce , i live in south west florida and have mild winters for the most part . i started the garden and the tomato plant was among the first ones planted .i use time released fertilizer and water 1 or 2 times a week depending on if i get rain or not

Barbara Mayer

They give my son his cabbage to grow. We love the idea. The only question is how we can do it since we live in an apartment and we are in winter. Can we grow her in a pot? Do we keep her inside or outside. Since there is some freezing nights and days.

Mary Beth

Hi Barbara,
Gardening in containers is perfectly acceptable for those without soil space in the ground! Check out http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com for full details on the program, including a section of tips for students. If you are growing for the 3rd grade program, you can tell how large (and exciting) they will be. Try a half section of a whiskey barrel or a very large container. You might even buy a kit for a 4×4 raised bed on your patio. Cabbages are cool season plants, so unless it’s terribly cold in the teens and you have a tiny seedling, it will be fine. Good luck to your son! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Susan Wald

We are doing the 3rd grade cabbage program. We live in Orlando. It is February so the weather fluctuates from 80’s-50’s. We have a planter in front of the house, but it does not get direct sunlight. Will that be enough for it? Newbie to growing plants and vegetables.

Mary Beth

Hi Susan,
Your cabbage may benefit from light afternoon shade in the warmer Florida temps. However, it shouldn’t be in full shade or low light. This article contains the most indepth step-by-step instructions for growing cabbage, but you can also find more at http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com. Wishing your family lots of luck as you grow together! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Kim Simmons

Hi Kelly,

We are growing 50 lb head cabbage and the lower leaves are all laying on the ground they look healhy but we are wondering if we should remove them so that the plant can get a better water supply?

Mary Beth

Hi Kim,
Those leaves, if healthy, are fine to stay. In fact, they probably help keep weeds from gaining ground and sunlight around the base of the plant. These leaves are also edible, though they may be slightly tougher and best for wilting, sauteing or boiling than eating fresh. Good look with that cabbage! Is it for the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program? Keep us posted by sharing pics on Facebook and joining the fun there. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

jasmine

My son just received a cabbage plant from his school. We live in corpus Christi Texas and I was wondering when we should plant it outside.

Mary Beth

Hi Jasmine,
You’ll want to plant it now. You are in a fairly warm climate with little chance of frosts again this season and want to get a headstart on growing it before summer heat. They are delivered when it’s appropriate to plant. Hints and tips are found on this page, and also http://www.bonniecabbageprogram.com under “students.” Good luck to your son! See some of the submissions and winners on our Facebook page. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Sean

Hi i live in southen africa and when we grow cabbge we chop it dry it out for four days in the sun the we store it in a cool place. My point is that wheo u do that u save a lot i am starting a program to feed the worlds poor with cabbge . Will tell u more next time i visit the site

Marsha T.

Hey, I planted some 45 day cabbage about 45 days ago; but they do not have small baseball sized heads yet. Should I wait to harvest them?

Mary Beth

Hi Marsha,
It may take a few days or weeks longer if your day length (hours of sunlight) or nutrient levels are not optimal. It is still a pretty fast-forming little cabbage. Give it some time and harvest once you see a tight head within the center. Make sure you read the “Harvest and Storage” tab within this article for details. Happy gardening. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Debbie

I live in southern california and it is now the middle of October. Can I start growing cabbage by seed or is it too late?

Mary Beth

Hi Debbie,
We give folks a jumpstart on the season by providing started seedlings in our biodegradable pots and 9-count cell packs. If you are working with seed, you will need to look at the “Days to Maturity” on the seed label, as it varies drastically by variety chosen. Some are 45 days and others are 90, for instance. A good rule of thumb is to know if the plant is affected by heavy frost or hard freeze and count backwards from the date of first frost predicted in your area. I don’t think you have to worry about mature cabbages in the chill of your area in Fall/Winter, but you will have to time the young seedling growth to be more established before nights get too cold. You can also extend warm weather season effects by using row covers and cloths. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Fern

I planted Red cabbage plants about 5 weeks ago and the plants are doing great, and are pretty big, except they are not forming heads..am I missing something? Thanks

Mary Beth

Hi Fern,
I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. Put on some Axel Rose and sway to his song about “a little Patience…” :) Cabbages vary a lot in the time of maturity, but the variety you are growing takes about 70-85 days. That rosette will start to form small leaves and close up soon. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Misty

We are so excited to do this challange!! I have bought special potting soil and hopefully a big enough pot to grow her cabbage as big as possible!! This is a great idea because we both love plants and growing things together!! May the biggest win!! Chandler tx

Betty Rogers

When chopping my cabbage to make sauerkraut there were interior browning on some of the leaves. The heads were in perfect shape. No splitting but with a few worms and earwigs. What would cause the interior leaves to turn brown? Thanks!

Mary Beth

Hi Betty,
It sounds like it could be a couple of things, all stemming (no pun intended) from the nutrient levels of the soil and how these nutrients are “taken up” into the young, developing heads. Click this link to learn more from Cornell’s extensive article with accompanying photos. Be sure to join our Facebook page to share photos of your harvests, recipes and any gardening tips. We’d love to see you in the garden community online. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Adri

Are cabbages perennials or annuals?
Do you Have to have special dirt to grow them properly?
Thanks

Mary Beth

Hi Adri,
Cabbages grow and last one season. You plant our seedling and nourish it until it forms a head, then harvest the head and surrounding leaves. At that point, the plant is done and you have free space for something else! Read these articles to learn about quality garden soil or container potting soil. Happy growing! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Allison Bernier

Planted the 3rd grade cabbage and all was doing well until two weeks ago when a small area on the cabbage head looked like it was eaten by a field mouse or other type of insect. The leave still looks great but the head area has continued to fold back as it grows. It is not split and still growing so should I still pick the head off the plant or will it continue to grow? Any help would be appreciated b/c it is hard growing a cabbage in New Mexico during this time of year.

Mary Beth

Hi Allison,
We are excited to hear you are participating in the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program. Does the damage look like that of the cabbage looper in the photos above? (In the Troubleshooting tab). Look under the leaves and inbetween the folds to find (and remove) any tiny green worms. The outer leaves will “fold back” as you describe, revealing a tightly-formed head in the center. The cabbage that you are growing averages 30 to 50 pounds, if that helps you determine the mature harvest size. Good luck!! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Bob

Hi Kelly
I am impressed with your sage advice
I grow an early variety – Early Copenhagen Market. I start the seed indoors and transplant outdoors. My soil is quite sandy so incorporate a good deal of compost into the bed. I cover them with a tent of garden fabric, and Iwater, water, water. They do quite well.

My problem is storage. At harvest, I trim off the older leaves and store the cabbage in the crisper bin of my refrigerator. I am away from home, from October to December, and when I return, I find they have turned to mush. I thought the problem might be earwigs, which have crawled into the core. I have the same problem with radicchio.

There is a seriously good and healthy Sri Lankan curry dish called mallung, which is made with any member of the brassica family or fresh beans.

Bob

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your kind comments! And thanks also for the mallung recipe suggestion. I love to try new recipes and that one sounds great. I see a few versions online that call for kale, which is one of my favorite plants to grow and to eat. Yum!

Now, regarding your cabbage storage problems… We say above that cabbage stores for a few weeks in the refrigerator. I’d be hesitant to guarantee anything longer, such as the few months you’re describing. I did, however, find an article from Whole Foods Market about storing cabbage that provides a few tips on extending storage time, such as wrapping the cabbage head in plastic to prevent respiration and subsequent spoilage.

I hope this helps! Happy growing!

Kelly

Brigid McCarthy

I am doing the third grade cabbage program. I broke off all the leaves cause they were fully eaten. I have a deadline of July 31, 2012 to mail the picture and the weight of my cabbage to you. How long does it take for the leaves to grow back. I only have a month!!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Brigid,

Glad to hear you’re participating in the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program! Did you remove the outer leaves because they were munched on by cabbage worms? If your cabbage has a head forming, you should focus on keeping the plant healthy to form a larger head. You can read some of the other comments on this page to learn how to get rid of cabbage worms and keep your plant growing. Also be sure to read the info in the Students section of our Cabbage Program website. I hope this info helps!

Kelly

SANDEE

I LIVE IN THE GREEN BAY AREA. CAN I STILL TRANSPLANT 4 INCH CABBAGE AND EXPECT IT TO MATURE?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Sandee,

Cabbage seedlings should be planted a couple weeks before the last frost in your area so they have time to mature before summer’s heat. It looks like your last frost date is somewhere around the end of May, so it’s a bit late to plant now. If you’re having a mild summer, though, you could try and see. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Joe

My son and I are growing the plant for the bonnie 3rd grade program. I had the plant in a 5 gallon pot then when it started getting around the mid 50’s at nighttime I planted it into the family garden. The plant is really growing fast and looks healthy and green. It has one big head forming and another little head started forming at the bottom. My question: Is it ok to break that little head off the plant as it might be stealing nutrients fromt he large head ( the big head in the middle)?

Mary Beth

Hi Joe,
Congratulations on a happy cabbage! The 3rd Grade Cabbage program is a joy for us, as much as it is for the students. If you have no interest in a double-headed cabbage and want one large head, feel free to break off the little one and have it for a snack. More energy will then be directed to the solo head. Let us know how it grows!
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Jill B.

Our 3rd grade cabbage is doing so well that it’s out-growing the pot! It is too late to transplant to a larger pot?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jill,

That’s great! Yes, you can transplant to a larger pot. Sounds like you should find one 24 inches wide if possible. Be sure to use good potting soil and water well after transplanting. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Carol Dainty

My white cabbages have grown very tall lots of green leaves but no heads at all just stems with leaves can you help

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Carol,

It sounds like your cabbage plants are bolting. If a cabbage experiences an extended period of cold temperature, it will bolt (also called flowering or going to seed) when the temperature warms up and growth resumes. You may start to see blooms form at the top of a stalk. You can harvest the leaves from your cabbage plants now and chop them us for slaw, but you’re not likely to get a head from these plants if they’re already bolted.

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Carol Dainty

Thank you Kelly that is exactly whats happened and they have gone to seed too. Thank you for you quick response I will harvest the leaves and try again. x

Colin

I did not transplant as deep as you sugested and was wondering if it was alright to hill them up like corn or potatoes

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Colin,

The purpose of planting the stem a little deeply is to help the stem support the cabbage head well. As the head forms, you can hill a little soil around the stem to help it support the head. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

karen hedgecoth

This is my first time planting cabagge i picked mine a few weeks ago and was told it does not grow back but i noticed i have new plants coming up where th old plants were at is that comon and have new lettuce coming up also

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Karen,

Leaf lettuce is definitely what we call a “cut-and-come-again” plant. You cut the outer leaves and the plant continues to produce more from the center. Cabbage isn’t as likely to form another head after the first one is cut, though it is possible with spring-planted cabbage plants. Small heads will form along the cut stem almost like Brussels sprouts. Is this what you’re seeing? If so, enjoy a small harvest before summer’s heat sets in. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

christina b.

how do i know when cabbage head is ready to be picked

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Christina,

Click above on the Harvest & Storage tab for this info. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

sarra

im doing the third grade cabbage project and anthor cabbage sarted growing but i did not plant it what should i do thanks

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Sarra,

We’re so glad you’re participating in the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program! Sometimes, two seeds make it into one pot and two plants grow. That’s what’s happened with your twin cabbages. You should cut one back to allow the other to grow to its potential. Don’t pull it up, which could disturb the roots of both plants. Just snip the stem with scissors or pruners. It’s hard to sacrifice a plant, but it’s all in the name of competition, right? Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

olivia muniz

I moved to a new house a few weeks after I got the cabbage , and it transplanted really really well.

Thanks For The Cabbage

L. C.

Kelly, Having planted several red cabbage plants too close together, the huge leaves are covering other plants; therefore can I pick the leaves to eat?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi L.C.,

Yes, you can pick the outer leaves and chop them up to make slaw or use in vegetable soup or a mixed salad. The leaves will not be as crisp as a cabbage head but they will taste similar. You could try using them in this recipe for Cabbage & Apples courtesy of P. Allen Smith. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Richard

My son planted his cabbage plant for his 3rd grade project and all was great untill a week ago when we saw some holes in the leaves so I checked the underside of the leaves and nothing was there but I have this gray granule substance on the leaves and a lot in the middle where the new leaves are growing. Can you thell me what it is and what I can do about it

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Richard,

This sounds like cabbageworms or cabbage loopers and their waste (known as frass). We recommend using Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, which acts like a stomach poison against caterpillars. Follow all label instructions. Bt products are nontoxic to people, pets, wildlife, and other beneficial insects. I hope you and your son enjoy growing your Bonnie Mega-Cabbage!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Christa

I also am carring for my sons 3rd grade project…we have transplanted it once into a pot. It’s still fairly small. Every time we take it outside the leaves shrivel and it looks awful. As soon as we bring it back inside, it’s fine and the leaves reopen and looks healthy. What should we do?? Thnks:)

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Christa,

First of all, how large is your pot? We recommend containers 18 to 24 inches wide for cabbage plants. Growing in a pot that’s too small could cause stress on the plant. Also, cabbage prefers cool weather, so if you live in a southern area, it could be getting a bit too hot for growing cabbage. Be sure to click on the Bonnie Cabbage Program page for more planting, growing, and troubleshooting info for your school cabbage. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

VI VIAN

Do cabbages need a lot of sunlight? I am planting in a tropical country where there is no 4 season planting. We only have rain or drought. It is hot most of the time here. Should i plant them in the shade?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Vivian,

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable. You can see the recommendations for planting times related to frost dates in the information above. Do you experience any cold temperatures or frost where you live? You could try planting in the shade to give the plants cooler temps and also try planting in the coldest season you have, but it’s possible that you’re not going to have success with cabbage in your tropical climate. Read our article “Which Veggies for Which Season?” If it is always summer where you live, you may need to focus on summer vegetables year-round. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Alicia

We planted 12 heads of an early harvest type cabbage and the another 12 of a standard cabbage. My husband pulled all of the outer bottom leaves off of them all. One plant has now withered. Should I expect the rest to die too?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Alicia,

I need a little more info to help. When did you plant the cabbages, and do the plants have heads already? Do you see any other problems with the plants? You can read the Harvest & Storage tab above to know when to harvest the heads. Perhaps they’re ready to pick? Hope we can help!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Alicia

We planted them almost 3 months ago. There was some frost after planting but we covered them very well and the was no damage. They have no head yet and we have been spraying them for bugs. Something started eating the leafs about a week ago making them look like lace. They also seem to be growing “UP” rather then “ROUND”. Getting taller instead of wider.

Mary Beth

Hi Alicia,
It sounds like your cabbage plants are bolting. If a cabbage experiences an extended period of cold temperature, it will bolt (also called flowering or going to seed) when the temperature warms up and growth resumes. Do you see what appears to be a stalk rather than a head? You can harvest the leaves from your cabbage plants now and chop them us for slaw, but you’re not likely to get a head from these plants if they’re already bolting. The lacy leaves are the result of cabbage looper worms. You can pick them off and feed to the birds or drop in soapy water.
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

LISA

My son and I are growing a cabbage for his 3rd grade projest. The cabbage plant is full of holes from some kind of insect. I tried seven on it but the powder does not seem to be working. Any suggestions?

Kelly Smith

Hi Lisa,

The holes are likely from cabbage worms or cabbage loopers, which chew holes in the cabbage leaves. You can look on the undersides of the leaves to find them. The green caterpillars can be hand-picked from your plants or you can also spray with pyrethrin, neem, or insecticidal soap and then guard against further infestation with sprays of Bt. Be sure to cover the undersides of the leaves with the spray because that is where the insects often rest. Also, be sure that your spray drips down into the folds of cabbage heads and plant crevices. Spray the underside of leaves whenever you can because that is where the young caterpillars hatch.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jacob Feldman

I’m Growing My 3rd grade cabbage program. But all of a sudden they have holes and green worms on them!! What should I do?? ut the way, up till a week ago they seemed OK. Thanks, Jake

Kelly Smith

Hi Jacob,

It sounds like the cabbage worms are out! I just answered this same question for Lisa, who is also participating with her child in the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program. See the advice right below this post. Hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Kelly Smith

Hi Judy,

The plant will form the cabbage head all on its own, with no shaping required by you. You will see some loose leaves around the outer edge of the plant, too, but a head should form in the middle. Nature is amazing, huh? Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Gary

Once the head is picked, does another one grow back like brocolli does or do I just pull the plant out of the ground?

Kelly Smith

Hi Gary,

Once the head is picked, it’s time to pull the plant out. Hope you enjoy your cabbage!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Chuck pons

Do not take cabbage without letting it grow cabbage sprouts. Very good

Dan

This is the first time I tried the red cabbage. All four plants that I planted have grown into great looking with large heads. Going to pick one soon.
Thanks for the great plants and the advice.
Dan

Kelly Smith

Hi Dan,

Great news! I love the red cabbage plant. It’s so beautiful in the garden! It’s great to know that your plants have grown well. If you’re looking for recipes, our friend P. Allen Smith shared a great one for Cabbage & Apples with us. If you try it, let us know how you like it!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jia Weathersby

I planted my cabbage for my 3rdson grade project. The head has burst. Does that mean it will stop growing? I’ve never get planted one and my mom (my assistant ) hasn’t either.

Thank you,
Jia

Kelly Smith

Hi Jia,

Glad you’re growing a cabbage for the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program! Has your cabbage head split or cracked? This is a common problem with cabbage that is often caused by lots of rain. If so, you’ll need to go ahead and harvest it as the head can rot after splitting. I hope this helps!

Happy growing,
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Deb

First time growing cabbage. It looks great, soil, food, etc. all good. First leaves are huge, do I leave them or pick them off?

Kelly Smith

Hi Deb,

Glad your cabbage is growing well! No need to remove any leaves. Read the tab above on Harvest & Storage to know when your cabbage is ready for harvest. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Shayla,

Cabbage plants need full sun (6+ hours daily) and rich, well-drained soil. You can plant in the ground or in a container or a raised bed. Be sure to read over all the info in the article above for lots of best practices and tips for growing and harvesting cabbage.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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