Cabbage is a great vegetable to grow here in Central Texas. With our beautiful late falls and usually mild winters, growing cabbage is a must in the home garden. You can have a bountiful supply of crunchy cabbage for tasty meals with the right soil prep and attention. Learn how to plant, fertilize, and harvest your own cabbage from start to finish.
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Selecting the Right Variety of Cabbage
Before you start planting, it’s important to select the right variety of cabbage for your climate. Here in Central Texas, we have a shorter cool season than our northern friends, and it is best to choose cabbages that have fewer days to harvest (55-85 days) for best success. If you live in a cooler climate, you are able to have better success with cabbage varieties with longer days to harvest (85-100 days).
Best Cabbage Varieties for Early Spring
Pointed Sweetheart Cabbage – Conehead-style cabbage that is mild and sweet. Great for salads, slaws, or light sauté.
Pixie Baby Cabbage – Space saving, small personal-size heads. Crispy green heads with great flavor.
Little Jade Baby Napa Cabbage – Quick-growing, small Chinese Cabbage (Napa) that is great in salads or sautéd.
Purple Express Napa Cabbage – Beautiful purple-red Napa cabbage that will look stunning in your garden. Grows quickly and is great for salads, slaws, or even homemade Kimchi.
Best Cabbage Varieties for Fall
All of the above can be planted in the fall also, along with the varieties listed here.
Integro Red Cabbage – Beautiful full-size red cabbage that produces a 3-4 lb head.
Capture Green Cabbage – Full-size green cabbage with great wrapper leaves that produces a 4-6 lb head.
Savoy Cabbage – Wrapped on the outside with well-savoyed, beautiful blue-green leaves. These 6-8 lb heads are white inside. Good heat tolerance and makes especially beautiful heads in the fall.
Red Acre Cabbage – Round reddish-purple heads that weigh about 3 lbs. This cabbage adds a festive color to salads and coleslaw. A great storage variety.
How to Find the Perfect Spot for Your Cabbage Plants
When deciding where to plant your cabbage, make sure you choose an area with 6-8 hrs of sunlight, preferably with afternoon shade if possible. Growing cabbage in raised beds with organic, rich, well draining soil, is best in Central Texas due to our poor ground soil. Large pots or containers can also be used.
Timing is Everything – Know When to Plant Cabbage
Cabbage plants can be started indoors approximately 4-8 weeks before the last frost of the season in spring or 4-8 weeks before the first frost in the fall. For Central Texas, this is January and February for spring, and late September and October for fall.
You can also directly sow your seeds or plant seedlings from your local nursery in the garden. Plant your seedlings 18” apart in rows at least 12” apart. Be sure to keep soil moist as new seeds are germinating or new plants are getting established.
How to Prepare Your Soil Before Planting Cabbage
Before planting your cabbage seedlings, it’s important to prepare the soil with compost and organic all purpose fertilizer. You can find good-quality compost from your local nurseries. Try to stay away from big box stores. Next, apply liquid Super Seaweed or Ocean Harvest every few weeks thereafter to encourage healthy growth of cabbage plants.
Properly Water and Weed Your Cabbage Plants
To ensure your plants grow well and produce nice heads, it’s important to water them regularly. Keep the soil moist through slow and deep watering. I like to use drip irrigation or ollas to help get water for my plants at the root zone.
Tend your cabbage plants by frequently weeding around them to prevent competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Be sure to remove any weeds that sprout nearby your seedlings as soon as you can.
How to Harvest and Store Your Cabbage
Your cabbage will be ready to harvest near its maturity date depending on the variety you are growing. You can check the cabbage head and gently squeeze it to see if it’s firm throughout. If the cabbage head feels loose, then give it a bit more time. Alternatively, you can harvest those outer cabbage leaves anytime you need a few; you do not have to wait for the full head to form to start enjoying your cabbage!
Be sure to use a sharp knife or garden scissors to remove the head from the stem.
Plan to use or store your cabbage within a few days of harvesting. To store cabbage longer-term, wrap each head in plastic and place in the refrigerator. You can store unwashed heads this way for up to a month.
Lettuce Help You Grow
That’s pretty much all there is to growing some amazing cabbages.
Which cabbage variety are you most excited to grow this year? Let us know in the comments!
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