What is Spring Cabbage?

Spring Cabbage is a is delicious and tender variety of cabbage that you plant in summer and eat the following Spring. They are smaller and sweeter than other cabbages. You can also harvest half of the crop early as Spring greens cabbage to leave the remainder more space to grow.  

The ideal time to sow spring cabbages is late Summer to early Autumn.  Spring cabbage will be one of the first proper crops you can enjoy in the Spring. Planting in summer allows the seeds to be planted then the seedlings can be hardened off before they over winter to produce heads the following year.

How long do Spring Cabbages take to grow?

Spring cabbages take 4 to 6 months to grow.

How to Grow Spring Cabbages

Sowing Spring Cabbage Seeds

Sow Spring cabbage seeds direct into the ground, or into a garden planter.  But for the best results Rootrainers will give your cabbage seedlings the perfect start.

Spring Cabbage is classed as a heavy feeding plant so add plenty of garden compost and/or well rotted farmyard manure to your soil before sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings.

How far apart to plant Spring Cabbages

Allow a space of up to 45-60 cm all round when planting Spring Cabbage.  They need quite a bit of room so the available space may dictate your numbers. But check out the 'When to Harvest Spring Cabbage' section below before you decide on the spacing - you may want to increase the numbers and pull them early.

When to Plant Spring Cabbage. 

The best month to plant Spring Cabbage seeds is July/ August with a view to transplanting them into the garden in October/November.  

If you want to sow Spring Cabbages later in Autumn unless the weather is forgiving you won't have time to harden the seedlings off before winter.  If this happens you will need a growing space such as a greenhouse or Grower Frame.  They will then spend the winter there and you will need to harden them off in Spring when you plant them outside. Once hardened off you can plant out under plant protection.  The Easy Fleece Tunnels are perfect for this job.

Planting Spring Cabbages Out

Water plants well before you begin and make a hole in the soil with a dibber or trowel. Fill the planting hole with water before planting the seedling - this will help the plant to establish. Push the soil in around the roots firmly but avoid compacting the soil which can prevent water reaching the roots. 

Keep well watered and weed free - a Speedhoe makes this quick and easy - and protect with fleece in extreme weather. As Winter approaches earth up the cabbage stems by dragging soil up around the stems to prevent them rocking in the wind.

When to Harvest Spring cabbage

Spring cabbage has a short harvesting period and need to be cut before they run to seed. They have a neater more conical shape than round Summer cabbages. So they may be ready sooner than they first appear.

Remove every second cabbage as Spring Greens in March. Leave the remaining plants to heart up for harvesting in April/May.

Harvest cabbage by cutting the stem with a sharp knife close to soil level.

Cabbage Growing Hack!

Cutting a deep cross in the stump will give you the bonus of a secondary crops of mini cabbages from the old stem! When your crop is over dispose of the root on the bonfire rather than compost to avoid encouraging club root.

Spring Cabbage Pests and diseases

The main threat to your crop is Cabbage Root Fly.  The best way to it is to keep the flies out by covering your crops with fine mesh - Giant Easy Micromesh Tunnels are ideal as they have the height to accommodate the growing plants.  Make sure it is secure at the edges so nothing can creep underneath. 

Also check periodically for small yellow eggs of the Cabbage White Butterfly on the underside of the leaves. Remove them by brushing them off. Cover the seedlings with fleece or micromesh to keep out cabbage white butterfly

Pigeons can make quick work of your cabbages - Netting is the answer if you have a pigeon problem.

Bitten by the brassica bug?  Find out How to Grow Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Calabrese here.

Sarah Talbot