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Spring Cabbage, Fall Cabbage, and Winter Cabbage

Posted Sep 13 2011 1:00pm

The terms spring cabbage, summer cabbage, fall cabbage and winter cabbage refer to the season in which the cabbage is harvested.


Cabbage grows best when it comes to harvest in cool temperatures and short days; cabbage heads do not develop in hot weather. Cabbage demands a constant, even supply of moisture; cabbage does not grow well where it is dry or hot.


Cabbage is a spring and fall crop in cold-winter regions; it is a winter crop in mild-winter regions. Summer cabbage is successful only where the summers are cool.


Spring and summer cabbages are for fresh eating right after harvest; they have smaller heads. Fall and winter cabbages have tight, dense heads; they can be left in the garden longer and are good for storing after harvest.


Cabbage cultivars mature over a wide range of days: early or early-to-maturity cabbages mature in 50 to 60 days; mid-season, or main-season cabbages mature in 70 to 85 days; late-season or long-staying cabbages require 85 or more days to reach maturity and harvest.


Planting. Select a cabbage cultivar or multiple cultivars to match your climate as well as when you plan to harvest. Keep in mind that all cabbages must come to maturity in cool weather; cabbages grow best before temperatures average more than 65°F. (The temperature growing range for cabbage is 45°F to 75°F; cabbages can withstand temperatures as low as 20°F and are likely to bolt above 80°F).


Early season or early-to-maturity and mid-season cabbage cultivars can be planted in early spring for harvest before summer comes or in mid- to late-summer for fall or early winter harvest. (Plan your harvest date and then count backwards to determine your planting date.)


Late-season--greater number of days to maturity--cultivars can be planted in late spring and summer for fall and winter harvesting or in mid- to late summer or fall for spring harvesting the following year.


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