Cool Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:57 am

Cabbage Novice

I planted 5 red cabbage seedlings in straw bales this year in mid March. I had never tried cabbage before and did not think they would make it. The heads grew to about 3 inches across and stalled for a few weeks during our sudden hot weather (100 + degrees). After 3 weeks and slightly lower temperatures (90-95) they started growing and the heads are are now about 5 inches in diameter.

Can anyone tell me when to pick these?
Should I feed them and let them keep going?
What is a good size to pick?
How big is too big?

We are entering a monsoon season now. I am worried the cabbage may rot with the frequent rain. The outer leaves had some damage but the heads look good and are very solid and not loose or mushy.

Any ideas? Input is welcome because I don't know what I am doing and never thought I would get this far.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 921
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:19 am
Location: Gardening in western U.P. of MI. 46+ N. lat. elev 1540. zone 3; state bird: mosquito

Sorry no one answered your question. I think cabbage is one of those crops where you can probably harvest it most anytime, kind of like onions. I've not planted in straw bales, but when the heads get up to 5 inches I think you could harvest them.

If I want my cabbage to go to the max, I usually watch the outermost leaves on the actual head itself. When they start to turn a little bit pale, that is, lose a little color, I harvest them. If you're getting a lot of water, they may split open suddenly, but they're still edible, it's just a little annoying.

I've noticed if I wait too long, the heads start to become just a little elongated, since they're getting ready to go to seed. I've also noticed the inside becomes a little more airy, not quite as solid, but again, still edible. If you cut the head off with a sharp knife, the base of the plant will start growing little miniature heads that you can harvest and eat. For me though, that doesn't work out too well; at that stage I usually get a strong aphid attack. :)

Cool Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:57 am

Thank you. I mustered the courage and picked the largest and made coleslaw. Tasted great and looked good too. I will leave two in the bales to see if I observe what you outlined in your post.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

It has been a very long times since I grew cabbage, I never did know what to do with 10 large heads of cabbage that were all ready to harvested at the same time. I think it is best to start eating small heads soon as there is something large enough to eat. First head that is 4" diameter eat it, let the others grow. Try to eat them as they grow larger and try to have them all eaten before bugs eat them first. 90 degree weather always made my cabbage bitter. If you put a head of cabbage in the crock pot for 8 hours it is sweet as sugar.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

I planted cabbage in the early fall months of last year and had absolutely huge heads by time to harvest. They were a foot across and tight as can be. I will plant them again this early October and this year I will use some to make sauerkraut from a recipe I found on the net. There's really not much you can do with a lot of cabbage other than eat it or make kraut as far as I know.

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