Cabbage is considered to be a cool season vegetable. Cool season vegetables prefer the cool days of spring and fall and are hardy to light frost. In general, vegetables that grow best in cool weather are leafy greens, root crops and various members of the cabbage family. Cabbage is a full sun plant and likes good drainage.

SPACING - Transplant plants or space seed 9 to 12 inches apart in rows 36 to 44 inches wide for 2- to 3-pound heads. When larger heads are desired, increase spacing in row. Using double rows per bed will increase yields 30 to 50% or more. If double rows are used, in-row spacing should be 12 to 14 inches. Plants in double rows compete with weeds better and produce a more uniform crop. To avoid root rot on your plants be sure and only grow your plants in the same spot once every three years.

Steps to Successful Cabbage Production

1. Select a site with well-drained soil.
2. Test soil for fertilizer, lime and nematodes.
3. Choose a proper variety.
4. Use certified plants.
5. Use seed treated for black rot control.
6. Use close spacing and consider double rows per bed.
7. Add boron to the fertilizer.
8. Sidedress.
9. Wait for plants to dry before cultivating soil to control weeds.
10. Use liquid or wettable powder pressure sprays for insect control.
11. Keep cabbage in shade after harvest.

BOLTING - When cabbage forms a seed stalk (begins flowering) pre-maturely, it is called "bolting." This is only a problem in spring crops. Some are more tolerant than others. 'Market Prize' is extremely susceptible and is very often a problem variety in spring if plants are grown in eastern N.C. Florida-grown plants of 'Market Prize' have not been as susceptible to bolting.

OVERWINTERING - In extreme eastern N.C. along the sounds and in most of the southeastern part of the state, cabbage can overwinter. These plantings should be considered with caution, because winter kill and/or bolting can occur in some years causing complete crop loss. 'Bravo', 'Green Cup', 'Rio Verde' and 'Conquest' are good varieties to use for overwintering. Plant seed October 15 to 30 or transplant November 20 to 30 for best results.