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Growing cabbage in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Plant where you have not grown cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabaga or Brussels sprouts for the last four years.
  • If you plant in the spring for summer harvest, you should start cabbage indoors. For a fall crop, plant seed directly in the garden in early July.
  • Cabbage will tolerate below-freezing temperatures late in plant growth.
Green and purple cabbage plants growing in garden

Cabbage is a member of the mustard family and, like most related crops, grows best in cool weather.

The crop has round, flattened or pointed heads made of leaves that wrap around each other tightly. In the center of the head is a short, thick stem or core.

Cabbage has many uses in the kitchen. Raw, it brings crunch and zest to salads and slaw. You can braise, stir-fry, stuff, add to soups, mix into the filling for egg rolls, and ferment cabbage to make sauerkraut and kimchi.

In Minnesota, you can plant cabbage in spring for a summer crop, and again in mid-summer for a fall crop.

Soil pH and fertility

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Planting

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How to keep your cabbage plants healthy and productive

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Managing pests, diseases, and disorders

Many things can affect cabbage leaves, roots, and heads. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis. 

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get input.

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Author: Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2022

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