There are several cabbage varieties available to the backyard vegetable gardener. They vary in size and taste. Smaller varieties tend to mature faster, while larger varieties take a little longer. If you live in an area with a short spring season, you may want to plant smaller varieties in the beginning of the year. If the fall season tends to last a little longer, you can plant a larger variety then.
In our own garden, we like to grow fast maturing cabbage varieties in the spring. This way, it grows, matures and gets picked before we have to worry about hot summer weather setting in. With larger varieties that take longer to mature, we inevitably would have to worry about the plant bolting and turning bitter if we tried to grow them in the spring.
For the most part, we grow cabbage in the spring that is ready in less than 60 days from the time we transplant the seedlings. These include Chinese cabbage types, along with other loose-leaf cabbage varieties, and more traditional cabbage with smaller heads. These are the cabbages that we like to eat fresh throughout the growing season. For this reason, we like to choose varieties that mature at different times. This way, we get to eat fresh cabbage for several weeks in the spring.
For our fall crop, we grow the larger varieties that take 70+ days to mature. While we do harvest and eat some of our fall cabbage right away, most of it is kept for storage in our root cellar or made into sauerkraut. We find that the bigger varieties tend to store better. In addition, in our area, we don't have to worry about the weather turning hot in the fall months like we do in the spring. Because of our climate, larger cabbage grows well in the fall months in our area.
When choosing a cabbage variety to grow, think about your climate and what types of cabbage you want to eat. Also think about how you might be able to store the cabbage you grow and what you plan on using the cabbage for. If you want cabbage to put in a stir-fry, look for Chinese types. If you want red cabbage for coleslaw, look for varieties that produce red heads. If you want big heads to store for the winter, look for the larger varieties.
Here is a list of some common varieties of cabbage, along with plant descriptions, etc...
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Click here to learn about fertilizing and watering cabbage plants
Click here for information about harvesting cabbage
Click here for some of our favorite cabbage recipes
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