Cabbage - Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide - University of Illinois Extension



Cabbage, a fairly hardy crop, is easy to raise and can be grown from spring to fall. Early plantings should be started from plants but cabbage for later harvests may be started by sowing the seed directly in the garden. The plants can be thinned to 9 to 18 inches depending on the size of head desired. The closer the spacing, the smaller the heads. Water may be needed during dry periods to produce satisfactory heads.

Shallow cultivation of this crop is important since many of the cabbage roots are near the soil surface. A side dressing of nitrogen fertilizer when plants are half-grown is advisable.


Cabbage is available in many varieties and hybrids. The varieties differ mainly in head size and days to maturity, ranging from 50 to over 100 days. Plant several varieties of different maturities to lengthen your harvest. Always select varieties resistant to yellows disease.

Important diseases of cabbage and related crops are yellows, clubroot, blackleg, and black rot. Rotation of crops in the cabbage family is an important disease-control measure. Insects that are common on these crops are imported cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, aphids, and cutworms.

Harvest cabbage heads when they are firm and before they split. Certain varieties, such as Bonanza, will hold longer than others. The Baldhead or Danish types make good heads for storage. Store cabbage in a pit, trench, or outdoor cellar.

Crop Amount for 100
ft of row
Variety recommended for use in Illinois Days to harvest Resistant to
Cabbage 75-100 plants Early Jersey Wakefield 63
Green Cup 73
King Cole 78 Yellows
Savoy Ace 74
Savoy King 85 Yellows
Ruby Ball 70 Yellows
Ruby Perfection 80 Yellows
Vegetable Hardiness Recommended planting period for central Illinois (b) Time to grow from seed to field (c)
For  overall
Cabbage Half-hardy April 10-July 15 June 10 4-6
Vegetable Spacing in row
Seed to sow per foot Distance between plants when thinned or transplanted Distance between rows Planting depth
inches inches inches
Cabbage ….. 9-18 18-30 (d)