by Amber

Grow Your Own Cabbage

Cabbage isn’t really difficult to grow, though insects are usually an issue when it’s grown outside. You can pretty well count on having to spray it with something to combat insects in the great outdoors, but it can be an organic product like AzaSol. You can also use summer weight row cover cloth to protect not just cabbages, but any other plants growing outdoors from damaging pests. If you’re just trying to protect a small bed or some containers – create tents out of it – easily accomplished, and the fabric is way less expensive than sprays.

Can You Grow Cabbage Indoors?

Yes, you can. Brassicas, like leafy vegetable crops do just fine with a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunshine a day. This means that, while it may take a little longer to bring your cabbage crop to harvest under energy saving grow lights, it is possible. Aim for producing small head varieties, as these will take fewer days to mature along with being more compact in terms of width and root mass needs. There are reports of cabbage growing with kale under T% HO lights and doing very nicely. Don’t try running your lights only 6 hours a day though, an hour of fluorescent light is nowhere near equaling the same period of exposure to the sun. Count on 12 hours a day at least, and consider using XHO fixtures for a faster harvest without a huge increase in energy use.

Things To Know Before Getting Started

Cabbage is a heavy feeder, so it will use up nutrient solution much faster than a crop like lettuce. Be sure to keep an eye on nutrient levels no matter what type of hydroponic setup you use for this grow. Make sure that they don’t run out and get dry as that will put them into stress, which is an invitation to pests and disease – even in the indoor garden. Insufficient moisture outdoors, along with excessive temps also causes cracking. Cracking heads equal a ruined crop.

Don’t over plant the space you have for growing cabbage. Putting too many plants on one reservoir will definitely increase your maintenance requirements. Check the planting spacing on the seed pack while planning the grow.

Can You Grow Cabbage In Hydroponics?

Yes, again.  It’s no more difficult to raise a great cabbage crop than it is to grow lettuce. You can also succeed with this crop using the non-circulating Kratky method, which means the only energy required will be your grow lights’ usage. However, your heads will be larger at harvest if you do this crop in floating raft beds than a tote system.

Watch your pH level in the reservoir. For cabbage, you want to keep it at 6.5-70.

You can also grow hydroponic cabbage outdoors. It can withstand temperature drops very nicely, and doesn’t spoil in the fall garden when frost sets in. Though you may want to situated your hydro bed where it will get some shade during the hottest part of the day. Humidity may be an issue outdoors more than inside. If you live in a humid area, you probably won’t have an issue, but in a dry climate, soaring summer temps could cause you to have problems that will leave you wishing you’d just grown your cabbages in the grow room instead.

In the first video below, you’ll see why you don’t want to cram too many of these large plants into your hydro setup. In the second one, you’ll see how much difference the choice of your hydro method will make in how big your cabbage will get by harvest time. Efficiency will always give you more food to eat than frugality when you grow your own…




Bobby, the MHP Gardener also had some good tips about how to grow truly impressive cabbage in the ground – organically. Did you catch that at the end of that second vid above? Hopefully, you noted his discovery that totes or tubs don’t deliver the best cabbage harvest, though it will work if that’s all you’ve got.

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The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.