Now Sowing: Cabbage (Seeds: Jul~Nov / Plants: Sep~Jan)

Cabbage seeds in the catalog, opens a new window

Common Name: Cabbage (Brassica Oleracea)

Seed Saving Level:  Advanced, may cross with other B. Oleracea members, including broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi. Produces seeds during second growing season.

Planting:  Plant several plants as cabbage doesn’t self-pollinate. However, separate  varieties of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale because they cross-pollinate. Sow directly in ½ inch deep rows a few inches apart. Germinates 5-7 days.

Harvesting: Cabbage can be harvested anytime after the heads form. For highest yield, cut heads when they are solid (firm to hand pressure) but before they crack or split.

Seed Saving:  Cabbage requires a cool period before plants will flower. The fruits on a cabbage plant are pods called siliques, which ripen from bottom up. Wait until most of the pods turn light brown. They will scatter when dry so watch    carefully. Pull entire plant and hang upside down in a bag to catch seeds or lay on a sheet to dry. Cover with another sheet and lightly trample with feet to release seeds. Winnow to remove chafe.

Sources: Complete Guide to Saving Seeds (2011) by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, Seedswap (2013) by Josie Jeffery , Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth,

Books and ebooks:


Recipe: Estonian Cabbage Rolls


  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked rice (½ cup uncooked)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 16-oz can sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 16-oz can tomato sauce


Core the cabbage head and place it in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand five minutes. Drain cabbage well and remove the leaves, cutting off the thick ends of the stems. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the meat, onion, rice, egg, salt, pepper, and paprika. Take the cabbage leaf and put two tablespoons of filling in the middle. Fold leaf over the filling like an envelope. Place seam side down in a 13x9-inch baking pan. Repeat until all the leaves and filling are used up. Spread sauerkraut on top of the rolls. Pour the tomato sauce on top of that. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.  Serves 8

Source:  Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food,   Rituals, and Customs from Around the World (2004)

By Lisa Rogak.