Red cabbage is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can grow in a small space.
Red cabbage adds a delightful touch to salads and cooked dishes, plus it stores well for an extra-long season of eating yummy home-grown veggies. Not to mention that growing red cabbage yourself has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars each year over purchasing from the store. It’s an especially great vegetable for first-time gardeners who want to see quick success and make use of limited space.
In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about how to grow healthy red cabbages in your garden or even in containers. Follow these easy steps and you’ll have a full harvest of beautiful homegrown red cabbages.
Table of Contents
- How To Grow Red Cabbage
- Step 1 – Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil
- Step 2 – Test soil pH to confirm it’s between 6.0 to 6.8
- Step 3 – Prepare the soil with compost and/or fertilizer before planting
- Step 4 – Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost
- Step 5 – Transplant seedlings to the garden when they have 2-3 true leaves
- Step 6 – Space seedlings 18-24 inches apart in rows 24-36 inches apart
- Step 7 – Provide support for the plants
- Step 8 – Water regularly and deeply to keep the soil consistently moist
- Step 9 – Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks
- Step 10 – Keep weeds under control
- Step 11 – Watch for pests and diseases and treat them promptly if necessary
- Step 12 – Harvest when heads are firm and solid
- Tips For Growing Your Red Cabbage
- Harvesting And Storing
- How long does it take to grow red cabbage?
- How much sun does red cabbage need?
- How much water does red cabbage need?
- How do I know when my red cabbage is ready to harvest?
- How do I store red cabbage?
- What are the benefits of eating red cabbage?
- How do you take care of a red cabbage plant?
- Where does red cabbage grow best?
- Do cabbages need full sun?
- Does cabbage need lots of water to grow?
- Does red cabbage grow in winter?
How To Grow Red Cabbage
Step 1 – Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil
For optimal growth, red cabbage needs full sun and well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 to 6.8. To ensure that your plants get the right amount of light and have proper drainage, it’s important to choose the right location for planting. This means selecting an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, has good air circulation, and is protected from strong winds. It’s also beneficial to prepare the soil by adding compost or aged manure in order to improve fertility and drainage.
Step 1 is incredibly important for ensuring that your red cabbage plants receive the ideal growing conditions they need to be successful. By making sure you select a location with the right soil and sunlight requirements, you can set yourself up for success when it comes to harvesting delicious home-grown red cabbage.
Step 2 – Test soil pH to confirm it’s between 6.0 to 6.8
Testing soil pH is an important step when preparing your garden to plant red cabbage, as they grow best in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
To ensure that your soil falls within this range, you can purchase a soil testing kit from a garden center or online. The kit will include instructions on how to collect and test the soil sample, as well as tips on adjusting the pH if needed.
If your soil is too acidic, adding lime can help raise the pH, while sulfur can be used to lower alkaline soils. With the right balance of acidity and alkalinity, your red cabbage should thrive and produce delicious heads.
Step 3 – Prepare the soil with compost and/or fertilizer before planting
Preparing the soil before planting red cabbage is an important step to ensure that the plants will thrive. Red cabbage plants prefer fertile, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, so adding compost or aged manure to the soil can be beneficial. Compost helps maintain moisture levels, regulate temperature, and add crucial nutrients for the plant’s development.
In addition to adding compost, you can also fertilize the soil with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or a slow-release granular fertilizer. However, it’s important to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package closely as over-fertilizing can create nutrient imbalances and harm your red cabbage plants.
Step 4 – Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost
Starting red cabbage seeds indoors is a great way to begin the growing season early and avoid any potential pests or diseases in the garden. They should be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost in your area.
To start red cabbage seeds indoors, fill seed trays or pots with a high-quality seed-starting mix. Plant the seeds according to the package instructions and place them in a warm, well-lit spot. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.
Step 5 – Transplant seedlings to the garden when they have 2-3 true leaves
When the seedlings have 2-3 true leaves and the soil temperature is above 50°F, it is time to transplant them to the garden. Be sure to transplant them at the right time as seedlings that are too small or too large can be harmed by the process.
To transplant the seedlings, dig holes in the garden large enough to accommodate the root ball of each seedling. Water them well before transplanting, being careful not to damage any of their roots. After planting, water the seedlings thoroughly and keep the soil consistently moist for optimal growth and development.
Step 6 – Space seedlings 18-24 inches apart in rows 24-36 inches apart
When planting red cabbage plants, it’s important to give them enough space to grow and develop properly. Space each seedling 18-24 inches apart in rows that are 24-36 inches apart, making sure not to overcrowd the plants. This will allow for good air circulation and reduce competition among the plants.
Water the seedlings thoroughly when planting and apply a layer of mulch around them in order to conserve moisture and control weeds. By keeping the soil consistently moist and free of weeds, your red cabbage plants will develop strong roots and be able to grow vigorously.
Step 7 – Provide support for the plants
Red cabbage plants can grow tall and heavy, especially as they start to form heads, so it’s important to provide support for the plants. You can do this by staking the plants or using a tomato cage. This will prevent the plants from falling over and becoming damaged or diseased.
Step 8 – Water regularly and deeply to keep the soil consistently moist
Red cabbage plants need consistent moisture to thrive and produce healthy heads of cabbage. Water the plants deeply and regularly, making sure to keep the soil moist but not wet. Be careful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot and other issues. Monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust your watering schedule if needed.
Step 9 – Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks
Fertilizing your red cabbage plants every 4-6 weeks will provide them with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development. A balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or a slow-release granular fertilizer is recommended. Following the instructions on the fertilizer package is important, as over-fertilizing can lead to nutrient imbalances and cause damage to the plants.
Step 10 – Keep weeds under control
Weeds are a problem for red cabbage plants, as they can compete with them for essential resources such as nutrients, water, and light.
To maintain good growing conditions for your cabbage, regular weed control is important. Mulching around the plants will help suppress weed growth and conserve soil moisture. Hand-pulling or hoeing weeds regularly will also help maintain a weed-free bed of red cabbage.
Step 11 – Watch for pests and diseases and treat them promptly if necessary
Red cabbage plants can be prone to pests such as aphids, cabbage loopers, and cutworms, as well as diseases like black rot and downy mildew. Regular monitoring of the plants can help you identify any signs of pests or diseases early on, when they are still easier to treat.
If any signs of pests and diseases are spotted, then it is important to treat them promptly using the appropriate pesticide or fungicide. Make sure that you always follow the instructions on the product label and take safety precautions to protect yourself and the environment.
Step 12 – Harvest when heads are firm and solid
Red cabbage is ready to be harvested when the heads are firm and solid, usually after 70-100 days of growth. To harvest it, cut the head from the plant, leaving a portion of the stem attached. After harvesting, red cabbage can be stored in a cool and dry area and used within a few days.
By following these steps you can easily grow red cabbage in your garden to enjoy its fresh and nutritious taste. With proper care and maintenance, you can have healthy heads of this delicious vegetable right at home.
Tips For Growing Your Red Cabbage
- Choose the right variety for your growing conditions and needs.
- Start seeds indoors to get a head start on the season.
- Transplant seedlings when they have 2-3 true leaves and soil temperature is above 50°F.
- Space plants 18-24 inches apart in rows 24-36 inches apart for air circulation and to prevent overcrowding.
- Provide support with stakes or tomato cages as plants can grow tall and heavy.
- Water deeply and regularly to keep the soil consistently moist.
- Fertilize every 4-6 weeks to provide the necessary nutrients.
- Keep weeds under control by mulching or hand-pulling.
- Monitor plants regularly for pests and diseases, treating them immediately when spotted.
- Harvest when heads are firm and solid, cutting them from the plant with a portion of the stem attached.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to ensure your red cabbage is healthy and well-producing, giving you an abundance of fresh nutritional vegetables.
Harvesting And Storing
Harvesting Red Cabbage:
- It usually takes 70-100 days after planting to harvest red cabbage, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
- When heads are firm and solid, they can be cut from the plant while leaving some of the stem attached.
Storing Red Cabbage:
- Harvested red cabbage can be stored in a cool, dry place for a few days.
- For longer storage, wrap each head tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- Canning, pickling, or freezing also provides longer-term storage options.
- Be sure to store it in a cool, dark place and use it as soon as possible after harvesting to maintain quality and flavor.
- Wrapping the heads tightly in plastic wrap when storing in the refrigerator will prevent moisture loss and minimize spoilage.
By following these steps for harvesting and storing your red cabbage properly, you will be able to enjoy its fresh, healthy flavor much longer.
How long does it take to grow red cabbage?
The time it takes to grow red cabbage varies depending on the variety and growing conditions, but it usually takes around 70-100 days from planting to harvest.
How much sun does red cabbage need?
Red cabbage needs full sun, meaning at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, in order to grow and produce well.
How much water does red cabbage need?
Red cabbage needs consistent moisture, so it’s important to water your plants deeply and regularly to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
How do I know when my red cabbage is ready to harvest?
Red cabbage is ready to harvest when the heads are firm and solid. This usually takes around 70-100 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
How do I store red cabbage?
Harvested red cabbage can be stored in a cool, dry place for a few days. For longer storage, wrap the heads tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
What are the benefits of eating red cabbage?
Red cabbage is a nutritious vegetable that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also a good source of fiber, making it a healthy addition to a balanced diet.
How do you take care of a red cabbage plant?
To take care of red cabbage, ensure it gets full sun, well-drained soil, consistent moisture, and regular fertilization. Also, provide support to the heads to prevent damage, and remove any diseased or yellowing leaves.
Where does red cabbage grow best?
Red cabbage grows best in cool, temperate climates with well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and has a pH range of 6.0-7.0.
Do cabbages need full sun?
Yes, cabbages, including red cabbage, need full sun, meaning at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, in order to grow and produce well.
Does cabbage need lots of water to grow?
Cabbages, including red cabbage, need consistent moisture, so it’s important to water your plants deeply and regularly to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Does red cabbage grow in winter?
Red cabbage can be grown in winter in areas with cool, temperate climates. In warmer climates, it’s best to grow red cabbage in the cooler months. Make sure to provide the plant with adequate moisture, sunlight, and proper soil conditions for best results.