Which Type of Cabbage Should I Grow?

Growing your own cabbage is certainly practical – no need to buy in the farmer’s market! – if also rewarding.  But among the 400 or so cabbage varieties available today, which ones are the best for growing in your garden?

Although cabbage is known as a crop that grows only in cool climates, this is not so.  A lot of cultivars today are hardy and can be grown in a home garden.

However, cabbage takes a while to mature.  You will need to wait about 70 to 85 days to harvest one full cabbage head.  They also take up space as the outer leaves, which aren’t good for eating, can spread at a span of 3 to 4 feet.

There are three cabbage types that are classified according to color: green, red and savoy.  These three groups are further divided into subtypes determined according to their shape (round, conical, globe and flat-round) and harvest time (early, mid-season and late).

Choosing a cultivar can get pretty confusing at this point.  The best way to start is to know how you want to use the vegetable.  Some varieties are best for stuffing while some are great for salads and stir-fries.

The green cabbage is probably the best to use for stuffing.  They are large but flavorful.  Arrowhead II cultivar is small though, with a dense head.  It has a sweet flavor and takes a little earlier to mature – around 66 days from transplant to harvest.

For the red cabbage, with its slightly peppery taste are popular in salads.  The cultivar Red Meteor is a good variety to grow because it is good for all seasons.  Maturity takes 75 days.

Another great red cabbage variety is Ruby Ball because it can resist both heat and cold.  It has a beautiful ruby-red color and takes 71 days to mature.

Savoy cabbage has a sweet, delicate flavor and is excellent in coleslaw, stir-fries and soups.  The Savoy King cultivar is great for growing because it is heat tolerant.  It is heavy, too – weighing an average of four pounds.  However, it does take longer to mature – 85 days.

Another cultivar from the savoy variety is Savoy Express.  Though small, it only has a few wrapper leaves and are tender enough to be good for salads.  They mature very early – about 55 days.