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Cabbages are easy and rewarding to grow and are part of the large Brassicaceae family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower and kale. With regular planting and varietal choice, it is possible to have cabbage in the garden almost year round.

Cabbage is far more than a boiled vegetable! Steam, stir-fry, add to soups, shred raw for delicious coleslaw, or try your hand at cabbage rolls. Cabbages can also be preserved as pickled cabbage or fermented as sauerkraut.

Cabbage is a low-calorie food providing an excellent source of many nutrients, especially vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.

Follow our seven easy steps to successful cabbage harvest including tips along the way.

How to grow vegetables - cabbages Handy Hints

When to plant and location.

When to plant.

In most regions, cabbages grow year round.

  1. In cool to temperate gardens sow cabbages from late winter to autumn or year round in warmer climates (tropical to subtropical).
  2. Cabbages take from eight to sixteen weeks to mature depending on the variety.


  • They grow best in full sun (or with light afternoon shade in hotter climates) in soil that holds moisture well.
  • The key to growing a good cabbage is to keep it growing quickly with good watering and an application of a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables.
soil TLC tips in summer


Cabbages prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil so adding lime before planting is beneficial and ensures good growth.

Dig in compost or well-rotted manure before planting or apply Seasol Liquid Compost.

Add Seasol Plant + Soil Booster (100 grams per square metre) and a fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release for Tomatoes & Vegetables to enrich the soil.

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Step 1  – Sowing seeds.

  • Grow from seed sown directly in well-prepared, moist soil at a depth of 6mm.
  • Spacing is 40-50cm (mini varieties) to 60-70cm (large varieties).
  • Seed can also be sown in seed-raising mix into individual seed cells to transplant in around six weeks.
  • Water in well with Seasol as it helps increase seed germination rates. Mix 30mL of Seasol concentrate per 9 litres of water.

Note: This is not cabbage seeds, it’s just an illustration to show seeds being planted.

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Step 2 – First growth.

  • Expect germination in 6-10 days. Germination may be slower in cold conditions.
  • The first sign of growth is the formation of a root followed by a green shoot.

  • When cabbages sprout they only have two leaves known as the seedling leaves. They look like two small, fat hearts on either side of the stem.
  • Water gently and apply Seasol weekly to promote strong root development and healthy growth.

Note: This is not a cabbage plant, it’s just an illustration to show seeds germinating.

Step 3 – Baby cabbage seedlings.

  • As true leaves form, gently thin seedlings in the vegie bed or seedling cells. In soil, thin to 40-70cm apart.
  • The first sign of growth is the formation of a root followed by a green shoots.
  • Seedlings can be gently removed or simply use scissors to snip off unwanted seedlings at the base to avoid disturbing seedling roots.
  • Cabbage seedlings are hungry little creatures so give them a good feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every 1 to 2 weeks.


Step 4 – Cabbage seedings ready for transplant.

  • Transplant seedlings when they form four to six leaves and are large enough to handle. Or transplant seedlings from punnets that have been purchased.
  • Space seedlings 40-70cm apart (depending on variety).
  • Firm into the soil and water with Seasol to reduce transplant shock.
  • Protect from pests.
How to grow vegetables - cabbages

Step 5 – Cabbage plant growth.

  • Keep developing plants hand weeded or hoed and well watered.
  • Apply a layer of mulch such as sugar cane mulch or pea straw to keep the soil warm and the moisture within the soil. This also helps to reduce weed growth.
  • Apply PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables weekly. Mix 50mL of concentrate per 9 litres of water.
How to grow vegetables - cabbages Handy Hints

Step 7 – Cabbage harvest.

  • Harvest when heads are round, firm and heavy, usually 8-16 weeks from planting (smaller varieties mature faster).
  • Cut the head off at its base leaving larger leaves and stem in the ground.
  • Harvest as needed or, to keep, remove loose outer leaves and store in the crisper section of the fridge.Tip: The leafy stem left behind after harvest can reshoot forming tiny but edible heads.
How to grow vegetables - cabbages Handy Hints

Things to watch out for…

  • Aphids: These tiny, narrow, black or green pests cluster on the head or under leaves. Squash or hose off.
  • Cabbage white butterflies: The green caterpillars of this small white butterfly feed on all brassicas. Squash any seen or apply an organic pesticide. Erecting netted tunnels over the rows of cabbages prevents this pest from laying eggs on the crop and is a highly effective control measure.
  • Earwigs: This tiny dark brown pest hides and feeds among the leaves making holes in the cabbage head. Squash any that are seen. Traps made of screwed up paper in a jar can reduce numbers. Empty traps each morning and squash any pests.
  • Slugs and snails: These pests can destroy young plants. Slugs may also hide among the leaves and damage the cabbage head. Snails and slugs are active at night. Use iron-based, non-toxic baits.
  • Club root: A fungal disease that affects growth and causes distorted swollen roots. Applying lime before planting reduces the likelihood of this disease.