How to Grow Cabbage – A Beginner’s Guide

cabbage plant growing in garden
Cabbage, which are known botanically as Brassica Oleracea, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing cabbage as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Quick Reference Guide for Growing Cabbage

Best Time to Plant 6-8 weeks before last spring frost
Soil pH 6-7
Spacing 15cm (6in) apart in rows that are 45cm (18in) apart
Sunlight Full sun, at least 6 hours a day
Watering Keep soil damp to touch; not too wet or too dry
Germination Time 7-10 days
Days to Harvest 70 days from seed to harvest
Harvesting When heads are firm all the way through when squeezed
Uses Cooked and raw use like salads, soups, stews, and slaws
Flavor Profile Sweet and peppery
Growing in Pots Yes, in containers at least 12″ wide
Bee-Friendly Yes, safe for bees

Best Time to Plant Cabbage

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the cabbage seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when cabbage are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Cabbage the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing cabbage in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your cabbage grow. Generally, your soil should be rich in organic matter and are not very sandy. Soil PH levels should be around 6 to 7.

in rows 15cm (6in) apart. 30cm apart in rows that are 45 cm apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 1.2-1.4 inch. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your cabbage seedlings 2 plants every 10 cm when seedlings are 4 tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Cabbage

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your cabbage. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your cabbage should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Cabbage

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your cabbage do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your cabbage begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Cabbage to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your cabbage grow.

It takes approximately 7-10 days to germinate, and a total of 70 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Cabbage

The best time to harvest your cabbage is when the heads mature. head are firm all the way through when squeezed the cabbage.

Cabbage can grow up to about 40-60cm at its maturing stage.

What Can Cabbage Be Used For?

Food Use: Cooked and raw use like salads, soups, stews and slaws

Flavor Profile: sweet, peppery in flavor.

Can Cabbage Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you will need a large container that is at least 12″+ wide. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your cabbage around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Cabbage Safe for Bees?

Yes, cabbage are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing cabbage is bee-friendly.

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