Planting cabbages: when and how? Our advices

There is a wide variety of cabbages, all of which come from the large family of cruciferous (newly named the family of brassicaceae) and extremely healthy. Why deprive yourself of it then? The simplest solution if you want to consume them throughout the year and vary the pleasures, is to grow them yourself, whether you have a vegetable garden in the countryside or in the city. Let’s see how to plant the different cabbages and what is the best period depending on the variety. Let’s also take stock of the advice to follow for a successful cultivation of cabbage of all kinds.

Growing conditions and best time to plant different cabbages

Cauliflower, Romanesco cabbage and broccoli cabbage

Romanesco cabbage is a variety of cauliflower. As for broccoli cabbage, it’s a variety in its own right. They all have similar needs in terms of culture, apart from a few details. They particularly appreciate fertile soils, enriched in organic matter, cool, deep, and sunny exposures.

We sow under frame between February and April or from the end of April to mid-July (only in July for Broccoli). A praline is essential just before transplanting in place, this taking place from April to August provided that each future cabbage already has 2 or 3 true leaves and has a terminal bud. The praline coating consists of coating the roots in clay mixed with water and cow dung.

The plants are separated from each other by at least 70 cm as are the rows. Depending on the transplanting period, the cauliflower harvest takes place in spring or from August until November. During growth, it is necessary to thresh the rows. For cauliflower only, when its floral meristems measure 8 cm in diameter, they should be covered with the leaves freshly taken from the center of the cabbage to stay white because they will be perfectly protected from light.

The watering have to be frequent because the ground should never be dry. These crucifers should benefit from good regularity both in terms of watering and heat. If these conditions are not met, they experience stress, the consequences of which are seen on the florets which deteriorate and the apples which remain small.

All cauliflower (which includes Romanesco cabbage) and broccoli cabbage are sensitive to frost.

Brussels sprouts

It likes cool, clay-limestone soils, which have been almond well in advance, provided that they are not too rich in nitrogen because the apples are at risk of bursting. He likes the sun.

We sow it under frame from the end of March to the beginning of April or in the ground between the end of April and the end of May. The emergence under cover takes 5 days and takes twice as long in the ground. After 8 weeks, healthy plants can be transplanted directly into place which have at least 4 or 5 real leaves. Each plant should be spaced 70 cm from the others in all directions. A tutor can be installed immediately after transplanting so that the feet do not twist as they grow.

Undemanding, Brussels sprouts simply need watering, especially if it is hot and dry, and hoeing from time to time. This keeps the soil cool.

As to head pinching, it is not absolutely essential. Some gardeners never do it, others think that it promotes the development of apples on condition that it is done in September. It’s up to everyone to adopt the version that they like best.

The harvest of Brussels sprouts starts around 7 months after transplanting. By having taken care to plant enough feet, one can enjoy this good product of the garden during all winter and until spring.

The Pe-Tsai

On our stalls it is marketed under the name of Chinese cabbage and sometimes Peking cabbage. It likes soils enriched with decomposed compost or manure, cool and well drained as well as sunny exposures.

The sowing takes place between April and August, in a row, the seeds being separated by about thirty centimeters for a clear sowing absolutely required. The ground should always be wet, which implies frequent watering in hot weather. You can save water by installing a mulching.

It is necessary to thin out when the seeds start to emerge so that the seedlings are not too tight afterwards. It takes about 90 days after sowing to start harvest Chinese cabbage. This is the time that is necessary for it to develop well. It is consumed when it is firm and very heavy.

Pak choï

It is a cabbage of Chinese origin which is sometimes named bok choy. We can sow this cabbage as early as April but we must keep the indoor sowing until June, when the new plants can be transplanted to the vegetable garden. To do this, each plant is introduced into loose, drained and cool soil, up to the first leaves. Good watering will keep the soil moist and encourage new root formation.

The transplanting in june allows to obtain a early harvest. To harvest in autumn, we can wait to transplant the pak choï in July or August. In this case, sowing can be done in June, directly in place. It is necessary to count between 30 and 50 days so that the plants arrive at maturity.

It is recommended to install a mulch to prevent premature rise to seeds, preserve soil moisture and limit the growth of weeds. This variety of cabbage can withstand small autumnal frosts when it is almost ready to harvest.


The Swiss call it kohlrabi … Kohlrabi is very easy to grow. It needs deep, rich, cool and loose soil and a sunny position, although it can be satisfied with a corner of the partially shaded vegetable garden.

It is sown between March and July, but is planted between April and August. It does not really need to be enriched again in its growing soil because it offers a foolproof robustness. All you need to do is place ripe compost in the furrows where you want to transplant it and space the plants 25 to 30 cm in all directions.

Of course, we do not forget to water it regularly, especially if it is very hot. The soil should always be cool. Thegrubbing kohlrabi begins at the end of July and continues until October.

Head cabbages

This family includes among others the savoy cabbage, originally from northern Italy, improperly given the vernacular name kale cabbage. It is sometimes called Savoy cabbage. It has blistered leaves. In this category of headed cabbages, we also find the cabbage, the Red cabbage (a form of head cabbage), the White cabbage which has smooth leaves and which is used after fermentation to prepare the famous sauerkraut for example …

All of these varieties like cool, well-drained, low-acid soils (except for Savoy cabbage which appreciates a slight acidity) and all prefer temperatures a little cool rather than too hot. A semi-shaded situation is ideal.

Sowing is carried out under a frame or in a greenhouse:

  • Either between March and June. They can be transplanted in place from May and through August for a summer or fall harvest, about 4 months after sowing.
  • Either from August 15 until the end of September to be transplanted in autumn and harvested in the spring (in May) the following year, or 9 months after sowing.

A praline is carried out before transplanting. The transplanting in place is possible as soon as the young plants have at least 3 true leaves. A selection is then necessary, in order to keep only the most vigorous and who have a central eye.

The plants must be 55 cm apart from each other. Thereafter it is necessary to hoe the soil regularly to remove weeds, aerate the soil and refresh it. It is important never to let the soil dry out in between watering. Mulch can be helpful in keeping soil moist.

Pests and diseases of cabbage: natural solutions

Cabbages are the target of snails and slugs. But cabbage leaves are also attacked by cabbage worm, theflea beetle, the noctuid cabbage. We must also expect to see settling there cabbage fly and ash aphid.

We protect our plantations by sail that is removed one month before harvest. At the same time, do not hesitate to plant thyme, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, mint with them: aromatic plants which repel cabbage pests.

In addition, cabbages are susceptible to mildew due to a fungus and which can cause ravages among crucifers. We recommend to limit the density of plantations by spacing the plants sufficiently, which allows for better air circulation because the fungus in question likes humidity and heat. We place a sharp eye on its plantations capable of spotting the first signs of mildew (yellow spots, grayish fuzz on the leaves, total yellowing, etc.). Affected leaves should be removed immediately and then burned.

If the infestation is really too important, so as not to lose all of its production, we have no other choice but to opt for a fungicide suitable for vegetable plants Of course. To ensure this, the packaging must bear the words ” Authorized use in gardens “. But despite this indication, it is important to have confirmation from a licensed specialist that the fungicide in question is registered and may be suitable for treating cabbage. For information, more and more chemical treatment products have gradually been withdrawn from sale since early 2019.

After the harvest, consider remove all plant debris before recultivating there. Finally, in wet weather, spray a decoction of garlic or horsetail on its cabbage plantations to prevent downy mildew.

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