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Brassica oleracea
Year-round; best in late fall and winter

In Our Garden

ruby perfection
This variety yields beautiful red globes that are crisp and store well.

In History

The word “cabbage” comes from the Latin word caput, which means “head” and the family name Brassica comes from the Celtic word, bresic, meaning “cabbage”.

Cabbage has been cultivated for centuries in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor. It was one of the most praised vegetables by the ancient Romans who believed it was produced by the sweat of Jupiter.

Although the term sauerkraut comes from the German words for “sour” and “cabbage” the concept was actually brought to Europe from China by the Tartars.


Harvesting Tips:
Different varieties of cabbage are ready to harvest almost year-round. Spring cabbages are ready in mid to late spring. Summer and fall varieties are ready from midsummer to mid-fall and winter varieties from late fall to mid-spring.

Depending upon variety, cabbages can be harvested for storing or eating fresh. For immediate consumption, cut head at ground level when it feels solid. When harvesting varieties suitable for storage, pick those that are firm and solid with no outer leaves that have lost their green color, pulling up the entire plant and roots.

Why It's Good for You

Whether cooked or raw, Savoy cabbage packs fiber, vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin known to protect your heart health.

One cup of raw shredded cabbage supplies about 25% of the Daily Value for vitamin C and potassium in fewer than 20 calories.

Did You Know

Planting aromatic herbs such dill, rosemary, sage, thyme, and chamomile along with your cabbage can increase the number of beneficial insects to your garden.

The strong flavors in many cabbages are a result of a chain reaction of defensive chemicals present in the vegetable’s tissues that are triggered when it is damaged. This chemical defense mechanism is strong enough that it inspired the synthetic mustard gas used in WWI.

Let's Eat

How to Buy:
Choose cabbages that are heavy and firm with shiny, tight outer leaves, avoiding those with any discoloration or yellowing. Savoy cabbage is an exception as its outer leaves form a loose ruffled layer with a slightly matte finish.

How to Store:
Spring and summer varieties of cabbages should be eaten immediately after harvest yet some winter varieties can be stored for up to 5 months before consumption. The vegetable is also fit for drying and freezing, but is particularly tasty when pickled.

How to Prepare:
Cabbage can make its way into most dishes on the table but also strongly stands alone. To prepare remove any damaged outer leaves and cut the head in half, then using a knife make an incision to remove the core from either side. The leaves can be shredded or used whole as a wrapper for fish or other fillings.


Pest Management

Here is a list of common pests and diseases that may affect your cabbage in California. For more information follow the link provided to the University of California Integrated Pest Management website.
  • Nematodes
    There are many types of these microscopic roundworms working both below and above the soil in California. The root-feeding kinds are extremely adept at reducing a plant’s ability to uptake water and other soil nutrients, resulting in wilting of the plant above ground…
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  • Loopers
    Much like the cabbageworm, loopers are responsible for chewing irregular holes in the leaves of plants. They move by arching their backs as they crawl, and are distinguishable from the cabbageworm by their distinct looping locomotion…
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  • Wireworms
    Particularly partial to rich organic soil, these immature click beetles feed on seedling roots and tubers. They do not tend to damage mature plants…
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  • Whiteflies
    The nymphs and adults extract juices from plant leaves, causing them to turn brown and curl. They prefer warm climates, and reproduce very quickly under appropriate weather conditions…
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  • Aphids
    In the early 19th century, the Phylloxera aphid wiped out the grape production throughout Western Europe. Aphids are extremely prolific, producing upwards of 20 generations in one season. They live in dense populations, and when living situations become too stressed they can flee by growing wings…
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  • Cabbage maggot
    Below the soil, they tunnel through plant roots, creating passageways for pathogens. These maggots are transmitters of bacterial soft spot and black leg…
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  • Crickets
    On a ‘pestiness’ scale, crickets rank near the bottom. While they cannot be completely disregarded, their impact is generally short-lived and unimpressive…
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  • Imported cabbage worm
    Within a few days of sighting the mature white cabbage butterfly, you can expect to see damage from the hatched larvae. They chew irregular holes in foliage, leaving behind fecal matter…
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  • Cutworm
    Night-feeding larvae that burrow into the soil during the day make their presence known by severing plant stems and chomping away at the foliage and buds of just about any crop…
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  • Flea beetle
    This leaf-jumper is double-trouble. The adults mainly feed on foliage while the larvae feed on stems and roots of tubers, exposing the plant to fungal infection.
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  • Earwig
    Think twice before squashing an earwig. While it can be a menace to seedlings and perfectly ripe fruit they play an important role in managing other garden pests, and it can be tricky to tell the difference between which variety helps and which variety harms your garden. Click below to find out which variety chomps on your plants, and which one just plain stinks…
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  • Diamondback Moth
    The larvae prefer to feed on plants in the Brassica family, and on rare occasions cause serious damage. The introduction of natural predators, such as the parasitic wasp, can easily keep them under control…
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  • Harlequin bug
    A member of the stinkbug family, the Harlequin Beetle doesn’t clown around. It efficiently destroys crops by sucking fluids from the plant’s tissue…
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  • Leafminer
    These are the small larvae of flies and moths that feed beneath the surface of the leaf, leaving behind signature twisting trails visible to the eye. They rarely cause serious damage to fruits or roots…
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  • Thrips
    Commonly found in gardens and on farms, thrips are a blessing and a burden. While their feeding can cause some scarring to leaves, flowers and fruit surfaces, the effect on overall crop yield is insignificant. Some varieties play a beneficial predatory role by feeding on other insects…
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