Planting cabbages : when and how ? Our advice

There is a wide variety of cabbage, all of which come from the large family of crucifers (newly named the family of brassicas) and extremely healthy. Why deprive yourself of it then? The simplest solution if you wish to consume them throughout the year and vary the pleasures, is to cultivate them yourself, whether you have a vegetable garden in the countryside or in town. Let’s see how to plant the different cabbages and what is the best time depending on the variety. Let’s also take stock of the advice to follow to succeed in growing cabbage of all kinds.

Growing conditions and best time to plant different cabbage

Cauliflower, Romanesco cabbage and broccoli

Romanesco cabbage is a variety of cauliflower. As for broccoli cabbage, it is a variety in its own right. They all have similar needs in terms of culture, except for a few details. They particularly appreciate fertile soils, enriched with organic matter, fresh, 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 pralinage is essential just before transplanting in place, which takes place from April to August provided that each future cabbage already has 2 or 3 true leaves and has a bourgeon terminal. Pralinage involves 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 the spring or from August to November. During growth, it is necessary to mound the rows. For cauliflower only, when its floral meristems measure 8 cm in diameter, they are to be covered with the leaves freshly taken from the center of the cabbage to remain very white because they will thus be perfectly protected from the light.

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

All cauliflowers (including Romanesco cabbage) and broccoli are susceptible to frost.

Brussels sprouts

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

We sow it under chassis from the end of March to the beginning of April or in the ground between the end of April and the end of May. Germination under cover is done in 5 days and it takes twice as long in the ground. After 8 weeks, healthy plants can be transplanted directly into place and have at least 4 or 5 true leaves. Each plant must be spaced from the others by 70 cm in all directions. A tutor can be installed from 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 pinch, it is not absolutely essential. Some gardeners never do it, others think it promotes the development of apples provided it is done in September. It’s up to everyone to adopt the version that they like best.

The harvest brussels sprouts starts approx. 7 months after transplanting. Having taken care to plant enough vines, you can taste this good product from the garden throughout the winter and until spring.


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

The semis takes place between April and August, in a row, the seeds being separated by about thirty centimeters for a clear sowing absolutely required. The floor 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 sprout so that the seedlings are not too crowded afterwards. It takes approximately 90 days after sowing to start harvest chinese cabbage. This is the time it needs to develop well. It is consumed when it is firm and very heavy.

Bok choy

This is a cabbage of Chinese origin which is sometimes called bok choy. This cabbage can be sown from the month of April but you have to keep the indoor sowing until June, when the new plants can be transplanted into the vegetable garden. To do this, each plant is introduced into loose, drained and fresh soil, up to the first leaves. Proper watering keeps the soil moist and promotes the formation of new roots.

The transplanting in June allows you to get a early harvest. To harvest in autumn, we can wait to transplant the bok choi 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 for the plants to reach maturity.

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


The Swiss call it apple cabbage… Kohlrabi is very easy to grow. It needs deep, rich, fresh and loose soil and a sunny position, although it can be satisfied with a part-shaded corner of the 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 provides a unfailing robustness. All you have to do is place very mature 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 ground should always be cool. L’uprooting kohlrabi begins at the end of July and continues until October.

Headed cabbage

This family includes among others the chou de Milana native of northern Italy which is improperly given the vernacular name chou kale. It is sometimes called savoy cabbage. It has blistered leaves. In this category of headed cabbages, we also find the chou cabusthe 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 these varieties like cool, well-drained, low-acid soils (except for savoy cabbage, which appreciates a slight acidity) and all prefer slightly cooler temperatures rather than too hot. A semi-shaded situation is ideal.

Sowing is carried out under frame or greenhouse:

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

Pralinage 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 which have a central eye.

Plants should be spaced 55cm apart. Thereafter it is necessary to binary the soil regularly to remove weeds, aerate the soil and refresh it. It is important never to let the floor dry out between two watering. A mulch can be useful to keep the soil moist.

Cabbage pests and diseases: natural solutions

Cabbages are the target of snails and slugs. But cabbage leaves are also attacked by cabbage butterflyl’risethe noctuelle cabbage. It is also necessary to expect to see settling there cabbage maggot et ash aphid.

One protects one’s plantations with a sail which 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 that have kept cabbage pests away.

Additionally, cabbages are susceptible to downy mildew due to a fungus and which can cause ravages in crucifers. It is recommended to limit the density of plantations by spacing the plants sufficiently apart, which allows better air circulation because the fungus in question likes humidity and heat. A sharp eye is placed on its plantations capable of spotting the first signs of mildew (yellow spots, grayish down on the leaves, total yellowing, etc.). Affected leaves should be removed immediately and burned.

If the infestation is really too important, in order not to lose all 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 an approved specialist that the fungicide in question is registered and can be used to treat cabbage. For information, more and more chemical treatment products have been gradually withdrawn from sale since the beginning of 2019.

After the harvest, it will be necessary to think about remove all plant debris before coming back to this place. Finally, in wet weather, spray a decoction of garlic or horsetail on its cabbage plantations to prevent mildew.

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