CABBAGE

FAMILY: Brassicaceae

TYPE
  • Annuals
  • Biennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

You can grow an amazing assortment of cabbages. Besides the familiar round, light green sorts, you can find types with flat, rounded, or pointed heads in colors ranging from white to dark green to red. Leaves may be packed loosely or tightly; Savoy types have crinkly leaves. Given such an array of choices, gardeners may decide to grow cabbage simply for the oppor- tunity to try something different every year. (For Chinese cab- bages, see Asian Greens and Chinese Cabbages; for orna- mental relatives, see Cabbage and Kale, Flowering.)

Few vegetable crops can match cabbage in total return per square foot of garden space. To avoid overproduction, set out a few plants every week or two, or plant both early and late kinds. Time your plantings so that heads will form either before or after the hot summer months. In most parts of the South, you can plant both spring and fall crops. For a spring crop, set out transplants 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. For a fall crop (which may be preferable, because cabbage pests are less numerous then), set out transplants in mid- to late summer, 8 to 14 weeks before the first frost. Gardeners in Florida can plant in fall for a winter crop. To prevent a buildup of soil-borne pests, plant cabbage in a different site each year.

Recommended selections of regular, green-leafed cabbage include 'Dynamo' (70 days from setting out plants until harvest, compact plants, good for small gardens), 'Early Flat Dutch' (85 days, heat tolerant), 'Early Jersey Wakefield' (65 days, frost resistant), 'Emerald Cross' (63 days, easy to grow), 'Megaton' (88 days, 15-pound heads), and 'Stonehead' (60 days, solid heads). For red-leafed cabbage, try 'Red Acre' (76 days, compact plants), 'Red Express' (63 days, compact plants), and 'Super Red 80' (78 days, heat tolerant). Recommended Savoy selections include 'Chieftain Savoy' (83 days, tolerates frost and heat), 'Colorosa' (100 days, red leaves), and 'Savoy Express' (55 days, compact plants).

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