Life Cycle of a Cabbage Plant

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Cabbage is a commercial crop available in a variety of colors and textures.
Cabbage is a commercial crop available in a variety of colors and textures. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Cabbage plants are a common garden and commercial vegetable that produces a bountiful crop. It can be directly seeded into cultivated rows or starter plants can be purchased from local garden centers.

Starting Plants

Cabbage grown from seed should be thinned to about 12 plants per foot, according to the University of Minnesota. If plants are started indoors, they should be hardened off or allowed to become accustomed to the outdoor environment through gradual sun exposure.

Seedlings can be grown indoors and transplanted into the garden.
Seedlings can be grown indoors and transplanted into the garden. (Image: neurtured seedling image by leafy from Fotolia.com)

Growing Environment

Cabbage plants prefer summers with temperatures ranging from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, moist soil and full sun. Transplants benefit from a starter solution that is high in phosphorus, low in nitrogen; some formulas also contain an insecticide to help control cabbage maggot.

Cabbage plants thrive in full sun with adequate moisture.
Cabbage plants thrive in full sun with adequate moisture. (Image: cabbage image by aag from Fotolia.com)

Harvest

Cabbage heads are ready to harvest in mid-to-late summer when the heads appear firm. Picking too soon will result in smaller heads, waiting too late may result in cracked heads that invite insects and disease. Harvested cabbage plants may produce a second crop of small heads or sprouts and then can be tilled back into the soil or added to compost if no disease is present.

Cabbage heads should be firm and full before harvesting.
Cabbage heads should be firm and full before harvesting. (Image: cabbage-head image by Stepanov from Fotolia.com)

Cabbage Uses

Cabbage will eventually end up chopped into coleslaw, shredded for sauerkraut or cooked in a soup.

Sauerkraut is a delicious cabbage dish commonly eaten with pork.
Sauerkraut is a delicious cabbage dish commonly eaten with pork. (Image: Sauerkraut Kochen image by R.-Andreas Klein from Fotolia.com)

References

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