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Cabbage is not a difficult plant to grow, especially in the Northern areas. It loves cooler weather and is quite hardy.
It is a heavy feeder though, so that means there will need to be a good layer of composted manure in the garden for it. It is such a good Cold Room staple for over Winter, it is more than worth it to set aside some room in your garden for cabbage.
I start flats of Red and Green Cabbage in the seedling room. We often can’t get into the garden until late April or even May, depending on the snow. So I start lots of different vegetables under lights.
Want to know which vegetables I just direct seed into the garden? Check out my article – I can direct seed quite a few things, but others definitely need to be started indoors, because of our shorter growing season.
I reuse Styrofoam cups (with a hole in the bottom) or red Solo cups. Seeded one or two a cup, they sit in the seedling room for a couple of weeks where it is bright and warm.
These cabbage seedlings are doing great!
When I run out of room for more seedlings downstairs, I move the cabbages upstairs. They are one of the first veggies to come upstairs and they’ll spend a couple of weeks in front of the living room windows.
Then I start bringing them out onto the porch during the day. First I do it for just a couple of hours in the mid morning, when it is neither too warm nor too cool. Over a few days I extend the amount of time they spend outdoors.
Excuse the clothes drying in the background! But, I sure do love my drying racks! I use them upstairs in winter, so the heat from the woodstove dries our clothes. Anyway….
Once the garden is dry enough that the tilling can be done, the cabbage is one of the first vegetables I can transplant.
Looking at the picture, you can see that I plant my cabbages pretty close together. They are about 8 – 10 inches apart. That’s OK, I like to plant thickly. I feel it helps reduce weeds and the big leaves will help to keep the soil moist. Besides, I’ll be thinning these cabbages and they will still have plenty to grow nice and huge.
Cabbage is quite hardy and fairly wind resistant. It doesn’t usually suffer too much from transplanting, especially if I can transplant on an overcast day.
After popping them in the garden, I water them several times that same day. Just a nice good misting to help them settle in. I watered the pots BEFORE bringing them down into the garden and this is an important thing to do. Don’t let your seedlings dry out!
After a few weeks, they have grown several new leaves. Soon they will be large enough to start heading up.
A beautiful healthy head of cabbage just starting to grow.
Here is that same cabbage plant close to the end of July.
If you have pigs or chickens, by this time you can start picking a few of the outside loose leaves off. Feed them to your animals and reduce your feed bill, while knowing they are eating healthy homegrown food. Want to learn more about how to grow your own animal feed?
We can grow some BIG cabbage here in the Cariboo. This one weighed in at over 13 pounds! It was a surprise when the dial went all the way around…and then some!
To prepare cabbage for the Cold Room, I peel off several layers of leaves. You can tell there are no loose leaves at all in the picture above. When you place them on the shelves, be sure they are not touching each other. Allow air all the way around.
I love cabbage in a Coleslaw! Shredded Red and Green Cabbage, with a good sized Grated Carrot for good measure – Great for alongside steaks!
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