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: 22
- Carbohydrates: 5g
- Dietary fiber: 2g
- Sugars: 2g
- Protein: 1g
- Vitamin C: 43% DV
- Vitamin K: 45%
- Folate: 4%
- Manganese: 8%
- Potassium: 6%
Cabbage is especially high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. Like other cruciferous vegetables, red cabbage contains a powerful phytonutrient, sulforaphane, that boosts the body’s detoxification enzymes, and may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer. Like other red, blue, or purple vegetables, red cabbage contains pigments called anthocyanins, which research suggests may provide cancer protection, improved brain function, and heart health. Be sure to add an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar, when cooking red cabbage, or the pigments will turn to a blue or dull gray. Shredded red cabbage is a healthy color boost in cole slaw or any salad.
The flavor of red cabbage is slightly peppery and it is very susceptible to color change. Cook red cabbage with vinegar (or other acidic ingredient) or it will turn an ugly blue-gray color. Always use stainless steel knives and cookware when preparing red cabbage to prevent color changes.
Plant pigments called anthocyanins provide fruits and vegetables with beneficial blue, purple and red coloring. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are learning more about these compounds and their absorption into the blood stream.
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.