Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var.capitata, tuba, and sabauda), a hardy, leafed vegetable, comes in several shapes--rounded, flat and pointed. The leaves can appear crinkled or smooth in texture in shades of green, purple and red. Cabbage grows well in well-drained, fertile soil. The cabbage plant offers many culinary uses, such as a stew, coleslaw or raw in salads. Plant after all danger of frost has passed and the temperature averages 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Work the soil to a depth of 8 inches. Add organic matter such as aged manure, leaf debris, compost or peat moss to the soil until it feels crumbly to the touch. Work 4 to 6 lbs. of general purpose 8-24-24 or 8-8-8 fertilizer into the soil for every 100 feet. The cabbage plant prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5.
Space rows 3 feet apart. Plant cabbage plants 12 to 15 inches apart. When planting cabbage seeds space the seeds 3 inches apart, and then thin to 12 to 15 inches apart after germination has occurred. Plant seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch under the soil's surface. Planting cabbage to close together results in small head growth.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, such as leaf debris or bark chips, around the new cabbage seedlings to help prevent weed growth and reduce cultivation requirements. Cabbage roots are shallow and easily damaged by cultivation.
Water the cabbage plants often to keep the soil moist. It should not be water-logged, but moist to the touch.
Fertilize four weeks after planting with ammonium nitrate. Apply at a rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet of garden space. Water the ammonium nitrate completely into the soil.
Harvest cabbage heads when they reach the desired size. Always harvest before the head begins to split for the best cabbage. Split heads attract insect pests.
Twist the heads of the cabbage from the plants or severe them using a shovel. Thoroughly rinse the cabbage head in water after harvesting.