How to Grow Cabbage in Raised Beds

Growing cabbage in your backyard garden isn't hard, but there are a few things you need to know. From how far apart to plant cabbage seeds, how to fight cabbage worms, and when cabbage will form heads, you'll find everything you need to know about growing cabbage in raised beds in this post.

How to Grow Cabbage in Raised Beds

My husband would rather have a cabbage salad than one made of lettuce. Steamed cabbage, cole slaw and stuffed cabbage rolls are all comfort foods from his childhood.

If you're a cabbage lover too, and want to grow cabbage in your backyard garden, here's what you need to know to grow cabbage successfully.

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Growing cabbage in raised garden beds

Cabbage is easy to grow from seed, but in early spring a nine-pack of cabbage plants came home with me. I planted them in a four-foot by three-foot area of one of my raised beds.

Cabbage seedlings in a raised garden bed

It grew really well. I soon learned that cabbage plants need more than a square foot of space per plant. Cabbage plants should be planted 18"-24" apart, so they have room to grow and to form heads when mature. [Source]

cabbage seedlings in a raised garden bed

My cabbage plants were huge and gorgeous. It seemed to take a long time for them to begin forming heads.

Cabbage seedlings

Cabbage not forming heads

When will your cabbages begin to form heads? It depends on the variety you are growing, but most cabbages will start to form heads about 60-100 days after you plant the seeds or transplant them into your garden.

Green cabbages, on the average, will begin to form a head after approximately 70 days.

A cabbage plant

The plants will begin forming heads on their own when it's time. You don't need to do anything to encourage them, just be patient.

Organic DIY remedy for cabbage worms

One morning my beautiful cabbages had holes in the leaves. The dreaded cabbage worms had arrived. 

If this happens to you, you'll need to inspect the undersides of the leaves daily. Those little green caterpillars can be hard to spot, since they are nearly the same color as your plants. Pick them off the leaves and drop them into a jar of soapy water.

These caterpillars are the offspring of those pretty white "cabbage butterflies" that you see flitting around your plants. They lay eggs under the leaves, the caterpillars hatch and feed on the cabbage plants, and eventually will form cocoons and "hatch" into more white butterflies.

cabbage plants with insect damage on the leaves

Picking those little caterpillars off of your plants every day can be a bit much! If you need help, you can whip up some of this organic garlic spray:

Combine 1% minced garlic, 1% fish oil, and 98% water. (See my post on measuring by parts if you need a little help with the measuring.) 

Let this brew overnight, then strain out the garlic and pour the solution in a pump sprayer or spray bottle. 

Spray liberally on the cabbage leaves and head to repel the cabbage worms. Reapply the spray after each rain.

You'll find more recipes and solutions to fight cabbage worms here.

A cabbage plant with holes in the leaves from insect damage

I had great success with this organic, DIY bug spray!

A cabbage plant

Cover your plants to prevent cabbage worms

Because cabbage is harvested long before the plants flower and go to seed, there is no need for insects to pollinate the plants unless you are saving seed.

So the easiest way to prevent cabbage worms in the first place is to cover your plants as soon as your seedlings are established, or when transplant seedlings into the garden. 

Cabbage plants growing under insect netting

Use wire hoops to support the netting that covers the plants, or bend a piece of fencing into a semi-circle and set it over the plants. 

Cover this framework with insect netting, using clothespins to hold it onto the frame. This insect netting kit also contains the metal hoops to support the netting.

Sunlight will shine through the netting, and rain will flow through the holes, but the white cabbage moths can't reach your plants to lay their eggs.

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