Best Tips For Growing Cabbage in Wisconsin

Growing Cabbage in Wisconsin

When planning your garden, you must consider growing cabbage in Wisconsin? With the right knowledge and techniques, you can successfully cultivate this leafy vegetable in the state’s unique climate and soil conditions.

In this article, we’ll provide you with the best tips for growing cabbage in Wisconsin. From choosing the right varieties to planting and caring for your crops, we’ll guide you every step of the way.

This guide will get you through growing cabbage in Wisconsin, but for all the tips from planting to harvesting cabbage, take a look at this comprehensive guide.

Key Takeaways

– Choose the right variety of cabbage for Wisconsin, considering the planting time and desired maturity.

– Prepare the soil by ensuring it is well-drained and amending heavy or acidic soil with organic matter.

– Plant cabbage in May or June for optimal growth and avoid planting too early or too late to avoid frost damage.

– Take measures to protect cabbage plants from frost, such as bringing potted plants indoors or covering plants in the ground with burlap.

Growing Cabbage in Wisconsin

You should consider growing cabbage in Wisconsin because it is well-suited to the state’s climate and soil conditions. Wisconsin has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The average temperature in January is around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, while in July it is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This variation in temperature across the state allows for optimal cabbage growth. Additionally, Wisconsin receives an average of around 30 inches of precipitation per year, with areas near Lake Superior receiving more due to the moderating effect of the lake.

Cabbage plants prefer loose, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Fortunately, Wisconsin’s soil conditions are suitable for growing cabbage as long as heavy or acidic soil is amended with organic matter like compost or peat moss.

When choosing cabbage varieties for Wisconsin, consider early varieties such as Early Jersey Wakefield, Early Glory, and Early Round Dutch that can be planted as early as April. Late varieties like Late Flat Dutch and Savoy are best planted in May or June. Certain varieties, like Storage No. 9, are bred specifically for storage purposes and can be kept for several months.

To ensure successful growth, prepare the soil by adding nitrogen-rich fertilizer before planting and keeping the garden bed weed-free to avoid competition for nutrients and water. Cabbage can be planted as early as April, but planting during May or June is usually recommended to avoid bolting caused by hot weather.

Remember to space cabbage plants properly (18-24 inches apart) in a sunny location that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. Regular watering and mulching will help retain moisture and keep the soil cool.

Harvesting can take place when heads feel firm with tightly wrapped outer leaves; this typically occurs in late summer or early fall for early varieties and late fall or early winter for late varieties.

Growing Zones in Wisconsin

When considering growing cabbage in Wisconsin, it is important to be aware of the different zones throughout the state. The USDA has divided Wisconsin into multiple hardiness zones based on their average minimum winter temperatures. These zones provide valuable information for gardeners to determine which plants are most likely to thrive in their specific area.

Here are some key points about the growing zones in Wisconsin:

– Zone 3 and 4: These northern regions experience harsh winters with extremely cold temperatures. It is recommended to start cabbage seeds indoors around mid-March and transplant them outdoors in late April or early May.

– Zone 5 and 6: Southern regions have a relatively milder climate compared to the north. For these areas, direct sowing cabbage in the garden is possible from early April to mid-May.

– Fall crop: If you’re interested in a fall harvest, start your cabbage seeds indoors in late June and transplant the seedlings in mid-July.

When to Plant Cabbage Seeds When Growing Cabbage in Wisconsin

The specific hardiness zone for your region determines the ideal time to plant cabbage seeds in Wisconsin. In zones 3 and 4, which are the northern regions of Wisconsin, it is recommended to start cabbage seeds indoors around mid-March and transplant them outdoors in late April or early May. On the other hand, in zones 5 and 6, which are the southern regions of Wisconsin, you can directly sow cabbage seeds in the garden from early April to mid-May.

When planting cabbage seeds, select a location with full sun exposure and well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Adequate spacing between plants is important for air circulation and disease prevention. Cabbage requires at least 6 hours of full sun exposure each day to thrive.

Proper maintenance is crucial for successfully growing cabbage in Wisconsin. Regular watering and mulching help maintain soil moisture levels. Cabbage benefits from regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer to ensure healthy growth.

Harvesting should occur in late summer or early fall, about 70-90 days after transplanting or 90-120 days after sowing seeds. Harvest when the heads feel firm and have tightly wrapped outer leaves. Cut the cabbage heads at the base, leaving a few outer leaves intact.

For long-term storage, cabbage can be blanched and frozen or stored in a cool, dark place for several weeks.

To ensure optimal results when growing cabbage in Wisconsin, choose varieties suitable for cooler temperatures and shorter growing seasons. Use well-draining soil rich in organic matter with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Starting seeds indoors before the last frost date or purchasing seedlings can give your plants an early start.

How to Protect Cabbage from Frost

If planting cabbage in Wisconsin, it’s important to protect your plants from frost by covering them with burlap or bringing them indoors when frost is expected. Frost can be detrimental to the survival of cabbage plants, so taking preventive measures is crucial.

Here are some tips on how to protect your cabbage from frost:

– Covering with Burlap: Before the onset of frost, cover your cabbage plants with burlap. This will provide an extra layer of insulation and help retain heat around the plants.

– Bringing Indoors: If you have potted cabbage plants, bring them indoors when frost is expected. This will ensure that they are protected from the cold temperatures outside.

– Regularly Checking Weather Forecast: Stay updated with the local weather forecast to anticipate any upcoming frost events. By knowing when frost is expected, you can take timely action to protect your cabbage plants.

– Avoid Late Planting: Late planting of cabbage can increase the risk of exposure to frost. It’s best to plant cabbage at the recommended time for your area to allow for proper growth and maturity before the first fall frost.

Cabbage Varieties: Growing Cabbage in Wisconsin

Stonehead, Early Jersey Wakefield, Golden Acre, Red Express, and Copenhagen Market are some recommended cabbage varieties for Wisconsin. These varieties have been specifically chosen for their ability to thrive in Wisconsin’s climate and soil conditions. When selecting cabbage varieties for your garden in Wisconsin, it is important to consider factors such as maturity time, cold tolerance, disease resistance, and flavor.

Stonehead is a variety known for its solid, round heads and excellent cold tolerance. It matures in 70-80 days and can withstand the colder temperatures of Wisconsin winters.

Early Jersey Wakefield is an early-maturing variety with conical-shaped heads that can be harvested in 65-75 days.

Golden Acre produces small to medium-sized, compact heads with a sweet flavor and is resistant to splitting. It matures in 65-75 days.

Red Express is another recommended variety that produces small to medium-sized heads with vibrant red-purple leaves. It has good disease resistance and matures in 70-80 days.

Copenhagen Market is known for its uniform round heads with a crisp texture. This variety also has good disease resistance and matures in 75-85 days.

To ensure successful growth, provide your cabbage plants with full sun exposure for at least six hours a day and well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Adequate spacing between plants will promote air circulation and help prevent diseases from spreading.

Regular watering, mulching, and fertilization with balanced fertilizer will contribute to healthy cabbage growth throughout the season. Harvesting can be done in late summer or early fall when the heads feel firm, have tightly wrapped outer leaves, and have reached their mature size of approximately 6-8 inches in diameter. Cabbage can be stored for several weeks in a cool, dark place, and for long-term storage, it can be blanched and frozen.

Common Mistakes When Growing Cabbage in Wisconsin

When planting cabbage in Wisconsin, make sure to avoid these common mistakes to ensure successful growth:

– Overcrowding: Planting cabbage too close together can lead to competition for nutrients and hinder proper air circulation. Make sure to provide adequate spacing between plants, about 12-18 inches apart, in rows that are 2-3 feet apart.

– Poor Soil Preparation: Cabbage thrives in loose, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Take the time to amend heavy or acidic soil with organic matter like compost or peat moss before planting.

Inadequate Watering: Cabbage requires consistent moisture for optimal growth. Keep the soil moist but not saturated by watering regularly, especially during dry periods. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

– Lack of Pest Control: Cabbage is susceptible to various pests such as cabbage worms, aphids, and flea beetles. Implement pest control measures early on, such as using row covers or applying organic insecticides, to prevent infestations and minimize damage.

By avoiding these common mistakes when growing cabbage in Wisconsin, you can increase your chances of a successful harvest. Remember to provide adequate spacing for each plant, prepare the soil properly, water consistently, and implement pest control measures as needed.

With proper care and attention, you’ll be rewarded with healthy and delicious cabbage heads that thrive in Wisconsin’s climate and soil conditions.

When to Start Cabbage Indoors

You can start cabbage indoors approximately 4-6 weeks before the last frost date in Wisconsin. Starting cabbage seeds indoors allows you to give them a head start and ensure a successful growing season. By starting indoors, you can control the temperature, moisture, and light conditions for optimal seed germination and seedling growth.

To start cabbage indoors, you will need containers or trays with good drainage, as well as a quality seed-starting mix. Fill the containers with the seed-starting mix and moisten it gently. Plant the cabbage seeds about 1/4 inch deep and cover them lightly with soil. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Place your containers in a warm location with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A heating mat can help maintain consistent temperatures if needed. Once the seeds have germinated, provide them with ample light by placing them under grow lights or near a sunny window.

As your cabbage seedlings grow, make sure to keep them well-watered and gradually introduce them to outdoor conditions through a process called hardening off. This involves exposing them to outdoor temperatures for short periods each day while gradually increasing their exposure over time.

Transplant your hardened-off cabbage seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed and when daytime temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Transplant Cabbage Seedlings Outside in Wisconsin

To successfully transplant cabbage seedlings outside in Wisconsin, ensure that the last frost date has passed and choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Here are some tips to help you with the process:

– Prepare the seedlings: Start by growing cabbage seedlings indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Once they have grown to a height of 4 to 6 inches and have developed a sturdy stem, they are ready for transplantation.

– Harden off the seedlings: Before moving them outside permanently, gradually expose the cabbage seedlings to outdoor conditions over a period of one to two weeks. This will help them acclimate to temperature changes and prevent shock.

– Choose the right planting time: The best time to transplant cabbage seedlings is when they are about 4 to 6 weeks old. Make sure that all risk of frost has passed and daytime temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Transplant with care: Dig holes that are slightly larger than the root ball of each seedling. Gently remove each plant from its container and place it in the hole, making sure not to damage the roots. Fill in the hole with soil, firming it gently around each plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Pests and Diseases That Affect Cabbage Plants in Wisconsin?

Common pests and diseases that affect cabbage plants in Wisconsin include cabbage worms, aphids, flea beetles, and clubroot.

Cabbage worms are green caterpillars that feed on the leaves, while aphids suck sap from the plant.

Flea beetles create tiny holes in the leaves, and clubroot is a soil-borne disease that causes stunted growth.

To prevent these issues, use row covers to protect against insects, practice crop rotation to reduce disease risk, and apply organic insecticides or neem oil as necessary.

How Do You Know When Cabbage Is Ready to Harvest in Wisconsin?

Look for firm heads with tightly wrapped outer leaves to determine when cabbage is ready to harvest in Wisconsin. The cabbage heads should be fully developed and reach a mature size of around 6-8 inches in diameter.

Harvest in late summer or early fall, approximately 70-90 days after transplanting or 90-120 days after sowing seeds. Check for signs of splitting or cracking, and harvest in the cooler morning hours.

Cut the cabbage heads at the base, leaving a few outer leaves intact.

Can Cabbage Be Grown Successfully in Containers in Wisconsin?

Cabbage can be successfully grown in containers in Wisconsin. Choose compact varieties suitable for container gardening, such as Stonehead or Golden Acre. Use well-draining potting soil and ensure the containers have drainage holes.

Place the containers in a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Apply a balanced fertilizer every few weeks to promote healthy growth.

Remember to monitor weather conditions and protect the containers from frost if necessary.

Are There Any Companion Plants That Can Help Deter Pests From Cabbage in Wisconsin?

Companion planting can help deter pests from your cabbage plants in Wisconsin. Some beneficial companion plants include aromatic herbs like thyme and rosemary, which repel cabbage worms.

Other options are marigolds, which deter aphids, and onions or garlic, which discourage cabbage maggots.

Planting these companions near your cabbage can help protect them from common pests. Remember to provide proper spacing between the plants for optimal growth and air circulation.

What Are Some Organic Methods for Fertilizing Cabbage Plants in Wisconsin?

To fertilize your cabbage plants organically in Wisconsin, there are a few effective methods you can try.

First, consider adding nitrogen-rich fertilizer before planting to provide the necessary nutrients.

Throughout the growing season, regular feeding with fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizer every two weeks will help promote healthy growth.

Additionally, mulching around the plants will retain moisture and keep the soil cool.

Remember to water your cabbage plants well and keep the soil moist but not soggy.


In conclusion, growing cabbage in Wisconsin requires careful consideration of the state’s climate and soil conditions. With its cold winters and hot summers, Wisconsin’s continental climate poses challenges for cabbage growth.

However, successfully growing cabbage in Wisconsin can be achieved by choosing the right variety of cabbage, preparing the soil properly, and providing regular care, including watering and feeding. Additionally, protecting cabbage from frost is crucial for a bountiful harvest.

By following these tips and techniques, gardeners in Wisconsin can enjoy a thriving cabbage crop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *