Light requirements: Full sun.
Planting: Space 18 to 24 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.) Give Bonnie Mega-Cabbage at least 36-inch spacing.
Soil requirements: Provide well-drained, nutrient-rich soil that’s high in organic matter. Work 3 or more inches of organic matter into planting beds.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Typically, established cabbage plants need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week—supplied through rainfall or irrigation. Add mulch to help maintain consistent soil moisture.
Frost-fighting plan: Cabbage tolerates hard frosts (below 28ºF). Cabbages that experience hard freezes won’t store as well, though, so harvest before temps dip below 28ºF if you plan to store heads in a refrigerator or root cellar for any length of time.
Common issues: Watch out for cabbage loopers, cabbageworms, cabbage root maggots, slugs, aphids, and flea beetles. Disease-wise, black leg, black rot, and clubroot and yellows can occur.
Harvesting: Harvest heads when they’re firm and feel solid. Immediately harvest any heads that crack or split. Cut heads from the base of the plant.
Storage: Refrigerate unwashed heads in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Flavor and odor become stronger as storage progresses. Use Savoy cabbage within a few days of harvest.
For more information, visit the Cabbage page in our How to Grow section.
- Calories: 17
- Carbohydrates: 4g
- Dietary fiber: 2.5g
- Sugars: 2g
- Protein: 1g
- Vitamin C: 47% DV
- Vitamin K: 102%
- Folate: 6%
- Manganese: 8%
- Calcium: 4%
Like other members of the cabbage family, cabbage contains a powerful phytonutrient, sulforaphane, that boosts the body’s detoxification enzymes, and may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer. Cabbage is especially high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. Be careful to cook cabbage as briefly as possible and in stainless steel pans to avoid too much of the smelly sulfur compounds that overheating may release. Note that the same amount of raw cabbage contains about half the calories and carbohydrates as cooked cabbage, but some of the other nutrients are reduced with prolonged cooking.
Red cabbage is higher in fiber than green, with 4 ounces of it boiled and drained offering 2.7 grams. It’s higher in vitamin C, offering 25.8 grams for 4 ounces cooked. Red cabbage is also higher in calcium, iron, and potassium than its green cousin.
Savoy and napa cabbage contain 20% of the RDA for vitamin A, while red and green cabbages contain considerably less. Bok choy contains the most vitamin A, supplying 60% of the RDA, although it is equal to red and green cabbage in other nutrients.