Collection: Cabbage, Fall Garden Varieties

(Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group)

Planning for fall harvested cabbage, or overwintered ones, requires a bit of planning.  About four weeks prior to your intended transplanting date, sow seeds in flats. Determining your planting date is accomplished by deciding on your preferred harvest date, i.e. mid-October, and then considering the average days to maturity for the variety, work backwards on the calendar.

If you are intending to overwinter your cabbage for an early spring harvest, sow your seed early enough so that you can get your plants out into the ground at least eight weeks prior to your first fall frost.

Cabbage seed can be direct sown in the garden but this is not the typical method.  Early varieties are started indoors, four to six weeks prior to your last expected frost date.

Two weeks before transplanting into the garden, the seedlings should be hardened off to acclimate the tender plants to the conditions outdoors.

If you have problems with cabbage moths in your location, insect netting may help protect the plants.

Each packet contains 0.5 gram, which is approximately 75 seeds.
A question that is commonly asked of us is, "Why aren't my cabbages forming heads?"  Like many brassicas, cabbage is a cool weather crop.  It is also generally a very long seasoned one.  Our general answer to the above question is, "Because you are not being patient!"  This is not actually how we answer, but it is a valid answer about 90% of the time.

There are, of course, other circumstances that will cause a cabbage plant from forming heads.  Some of these include:

* Too much nitrogen.
* Not cultivating the plants thus allowing them to be overgrown or crowded.
* Seedling damage from insects or to the roots while transplanting.
* Planting seedlings when temperatures are over about 80F.
* Not watering enough.

So what can you do?  Start by planning.  Get the seeds sown early in the spring or late in the summer so that the plants can mature in the cooler temperatures of the year.  Keep your cabbage patch weeded, mulched and watered.  And wait them out . . . have patience.  Most of the time the plants will do what they are suppose to do when the conditions are correct.


* "Cabbage and Cauliflower for Profit"  by  J. M. Lupton, 1912

*  "Cabbage, Cauliflower and Allied Vegetables: From Seed to Harvest" by Charles Linnaeus Allen, 1901