Cabbage & Company

Vegetables in the diverse brassica family are the tasty and nutritious stars of cool-season gardens.

By Beth Botts

Photography by Andrew Norelli


Cabbage is an ancient and diverse cropCabbage
Cabbage is an ancient and diverse crop closely related to kale and collards. Today’s supermarket varieties have round, heavy heads of pale, tightly wrapped leaves. But you also can grow savoy cabbage with crinkled leaves, red cabbage, and head cabbage var-ieties that lie open like roses or stand tall like pinecones. Cabbages need elbow room—it’s nothing for a plant to be 3 feet across—so plan space carefully in the garden.

In the South, cabbages are planted in fall and can be left in the garden over most mild winters. In northerly climates, they can be planted both in spring and fall. Some gardeners plant two fall crops—an early one for eating and a late crop for keeping.

For spring harvest, start cabbage seeds indoors in late January or February and set the plants out in the garden about a month before the expected last frost. For the fall crop, sow seeds indoors or direct-sow them in the garden in July.

Recommended Cabbage Varieties