Monday, January 11, 2010

Red cabbage

A spring cabbage from a past garden

Chopping up a (store-bought) red cabbage to add to a vegetable mix this evening had me wondering about where it had been grown. A traditional cool-season crop, cabbage requires cool weather and a long growing season to mature.

Was this a freshly-harvested cabbage from somewhere in coastal California? Or somewhere in Florida? Imported from Mexico? Or was it a refrigerated stored cabbage, thanks to the modern equivalent of a root cellar?

Hard to know, since a quick search revealed only that California and Florida were likely sources of fresh cabbage in the US this time of year.

In our normally mild winter climate in South Carolina, most cabbages (and their relatives) do quite nicely planted in the fall (or early spring), but we'd harvest heads in early summer. In colder winter climates (think the Northeastern US or Northern Europe), you'd be able to harvest in fall and store through the winter.

But cabbages of various sorts are grown around the world, and I'm remembering seeing some sort of cabbages in most of the local markets that we've visited, whether in Asia, Europe, or South America. I've posted these images before - totally enormous cabbages grown in the mountains of Northern Vietnam.

Giant cabbages growing near Sapa, Northern Vietnam
Carrying cabbages to market


  1. This post comes at an opportune time. I planted several red cabbages this past fall in my garden. Their little "heads" are still quite small. Is this all they will do or should I wait for spring and hope for more?

  2. I'd wait to harvest, but keep an eye on them! Almost certainly they'll put on more growth as it warms up. I noticed today that the Savoy cabbages in the kitchen garden next to the Visitor Center have started to form small heads, too.

    But, notice in the photo of the red cabbage that I posted that there's a young tomato transplant nearby - that means it was after April 15...

    But, heading behavior in Brassicas is always a bit interesting, so it's hard to know what to expect. Enjoy them, whenever you harvest...


  3. Cabbage is a staple in many amazing veggie!

  4. Beautiful pictures, thought-provoking post. We'll be planting out our transplants in the early spring, and hoping for something resembling a head before the full heat of summer ramps up. :)


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