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HOMEGardening Articles

by Carole Schwalm Close up image of a head of cabbage growing in a garden.

Cabbage is something I’ve never attempted to grow, though they are easy. And I’ve heard the home-grown heads taste much sweeter. You can also grow them year-round, if the climate is right (or you have a greenhouse or cold frame).

However, here is what they need! They are a cool-weather crop. This means that you should plant between March through June. A fall crop can be sown from late May through June. The best soil temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees.

Sow seed 4 to 6 inches apart, ¼inch deep. Water 1 to 2 inches per week. Fertilize. They can be transplanted, and either resonates with calcium enriched soil (lime). Many cabbage varieties are disease resistant.

Overhead picture of a garden grown cabbage. Types can vary. There is a quick growing cabbage that takes between 55 to 60 days. Some seeds have built-in strength, so they can be set out early or late.


Right now, I have five pots of leaf lettuce growing on my window sill. I started them from seed and they have done beautifully, first in an east window then relocated to a southern exposure.

Lettuce is a cool-season crop. They can survive a 40° F as a low, and like it as long as it stays under 70°. There are more heat-tolerant variety btw. You can sow directly in the garden at 1/8 inch depth. Plant one inch apart, then thin after a few leaves have formed.

Overhead image of garden grown lettuce. I’m looking now at a catalog that contains 68 different types of available lettuce seeds.

Butterhead lettuce: takes from one month up to around 50 days. There are heirloom varieties, miniature butterheads, and butter crunch, and other bibb types. There is one called “Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed” I’ve never tried, but isn’t the name interesting.

Head lettuce: taking from 48 to 70 days. There are some that actually like summer temps.

Loose-leaf lettuces are favorites and spring growers, and they do well inside, even during the winter.

Romaine: there are varieties that are ready in a month, the max is around 65 days.

There are also lettuces mixes and gourmet mesclun salad blends. When we lived in Boulder, Colorado, we made a special trip to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to one of the salad mixes a farmer had been creating for years, with endives, arugula, chives, and nasturtiums.

Share your experience with your cabbage & lettuce or if you'd like more information.