Types Of Cabbage – Different Cabbages To Grow In Gardens
Cabbage is one of the most popular vegetables grown in gardens. There are different kinds of cabbages to choose from depending upon your needs.
You may have heard about various types of cabbage but what exactly do they all mean? What does it really matter if a particular variety grows well or not?
These questions will be answered in this post.
The term “cabbage” refers to several species of plants belonging to the Brassica family (Brassicaceae). They include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kohlrabi and turnips. All these plants belong to the same genus called Brassica oleracea. The common name for all these cabbage species is brassicas.
In general, cabbage is considered a low maintenance vegetable. It requires little attention other than regular fertilization and watering. However, some varieties require extra care such as winter hardiness requirements or disease resistance.
There are two main categories of cabbage: leafy greens and root crops. Leafy greens include lettuce, kale, bok choy, mustard greens and dandelion greens; while root crops include broccoli rabe, radishes and carrots. Both types are nutritious and have different flavors and textures.
Some cabbage varieties of leafy greens can be eaten at various stages of maturity. For example, bok choy is a green, flower-like vegetable that is commonly used in Asian cooking. It is not a head of cabbage but part of the Chinese cabbage family. Loose leaf or flat Dutch cabbage, on the other hand, is an immature cabbage that can be harvested before it fully develops into a tight head.
Some cabbage types are primarily consumed as root crops. These include Chinese cabbage, kale and collards. Although they look like roots, they are not. They are indeed edible leafy greens. Broccoli rabe (also known as rapini) is a type of broccoli that does not form a big flowery head but rather a cluster of buds.
It is also edible as a green vegetable.
There are three main types of cabbage: early season, main season and late season. Early season cabbages can be harvested 3 months after sowing the seeds; main season cabbages take 4-5 months and late season types 7-8 months. All cabbages like a sunny location and well drained soil. They cannot tolerate shade and standing water will cause them to rot.
The most common types of cabbage include:
Early Season Cabbage Varieties
• Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage: This popular early season cabbage has an oblong-shaped head with light green, tightly packed leaves. It has a mild flavor and is widely used in making coleslaw, salads and many cooked dishes. It takes approximately 3 months to grow and is available from April to December.
• Early Snowball Cabbage: Another popular early cabbage that is ideal for home gardens, the Early Snowball has a round head and thick white ribs. It features dense, crinkled leaves with a firm texture. It has a mild, sweet taste and is very easy to grow. It is available from April to October.
• Danish Ballhead Cabbage: This long white cabbage features tightly packed leaves in a round shape, forming a ball shaped head. It is an ideal cold weather crop and has a mild flavor. It is very cold hardy and can tolerate frosty conditions. It is available from April to December.
Main Cabbage Season Varieties
• Copenhagen Market Cabbage: This type of cabbage features loosely packed leaves which are broader than other types of cabbages, giving it a flattened look. It has a sweet taste and is available from May to October.
• Golden Acre Cabbage: Also known as the Winter King, this type of cabbage has a round head which is surrounded by large, light green leaves with thick white ribs. It has a sweet flavor and is very cold hardy. It is available from May to December.
•January King Cabbage: This cabbage takes its name from its harvest period, January to May. It features tightly packed, silky white leaves surrounding a round head. It is sweeter than other types of cabbage and is available from May to December.
• Premium Late Flat Dutch Cabbage: This type of cabbage features thick, crinkled leaves surrounding a round, blue-green head. It has a firm texture and a mild, sweet flavor. It is available from May to September.
• Yellowstone: This early season cabbage has dark green leaves forming a tighter head than the earlier cabbages. The leaves have very thick white ribs and it has a slightly stronger flavor than other types of cabbage, making it perfect for sauerkraut. It is available from May to July.
Late Season Cabbage Varieties
• Danish Late Flat Dutch: Also known as Year Round, this cabbage has crinkled, dark green leaves with deep internal ribs. It has a strong flavor and is available from July to September.
• Late Giant Winter Queen: This late season cabbage has a light green head surrounded by large, dark green leaves and thick white ribs. It has a sweet taste and is available from July to December.
• White Gold: This late season cabbage is a cross between an American and an Asian type of cabbage. It features a broad, flat head with thick, glossy green leaves and a sweet taste. It is available from July to December.
Specialty Cabbage Varieties
• Chinese Cabbage: Also known as “Napa”, this type of cabbage has light green, crinkled leaves and a mild flavor. It is available all year round.
• Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage: This early season cabbage features light green leaves and a mild flavor. It is available from April to September.
• Red Acre: Grown for its reddish leaves, this specialty cabbage has a strong flavor and is available from April to June.
The most popular varieties of cauliflower are the Early Snowball, thesimilarly shaped Emerald and the late season Italian. The main season for cauliflower is from September to April, with the early and late season varieties available at other times of the year.
The most commonly available are:
• Early Snowball: This variety has a tightly packed head of 5-7 creamy white,crumpled,resembling ball. It has a mild taste and is available from September to December.
• Early Snowflake: This early season cauliflower features a 6-10″ (15-25cm) head with white, crinkled leaves surrounding a cream center. It has a more delicate taste than the Early Snowball and is available from August to October.
• Italian: This late season cauliflower has a 7-9″ (18-23cm) smooth, white head. It is available from December to April.
As with broccoli, there are yellow varieties of each of the main season cauliflowers available. They have a slightly different flavor to the white varieties, but this is not noticeable when cooked.
The two most popular varieties of Brussels sprouts are the early and late seasons. The main season for these is November to April, with limited supplies available at other times of year.
The two most popular varieties of brussels sprouts are:
• Copenhagen Market: This variety has tight clusters of miniature cabbage heads, is early to mature and available from September to November.
• Montpellier: Also known as Manarola, this type has loose clusters of small round heads, smooth stems and is available from November to April.
The availability of Chinese cabbage is similar to that of regular cabbage except it is only available from June to December. The two most popular varieties are:
• Tailset: Also known as celery cabbage, this type has a loose head of thin, curly, crisp leaves which are mild and sweet in taste and is available from August to October.
• Pe-Tsai: Also known as free-style, this type has a looser head of slightly thicker, crisper, darker green leaves and a stronger flavor than Tailset and is available from July to September.
The two main types of cauliflower available in the UK are the winter and spring/summer varieties. The main season for this vegetable is from October to April, with limited supplies available at other times of year.
The most popular varieties are:
This type is available from October to April.
• Erfurt: This type features small, tight and densely packed white heads on thick green stalks and has a light flavor.
• Heinz Invincible: This variety features small, tight and dense white heads with thick green stalks and a delicate flavor.
This type is available from March to July.
• Erfurt: This variety has slightly smaller, looser and less dense white heads with thick green stalks than its Winter relative and a slightly stronger flavor.
Sprouting broccoli is similar to regular broccoli except the flower buds are harvested before they become large florets. It matures faster than regular broccoli, is richer in nutrients, has a stronger flavor and lasts longer when harvested. It is available from January to October.
The two most popular varieties are:
• Albino: This variety has thick, large and tightly packed yellow flower buds surrounded by thin green stalks and is available from March to July.
• Purple Cape: This type has thick, large and tightly packed purple flower buds surrounded by thin green stalks and a more intense flavor than the Albino and is available from March to September.
The most popular varieties of cabbage are:
Early season (January to March)
Spring/Summer (April to September)
Late season (October to December)
The most popular varieties are:
• January King: This variety has thick, large, tightly packed, round green heads and is the earliest available cabbage in the UK. It has a mild flavor.
Sources & references used in this article:
The status of Brassica oleracea L. subsp. oleracea (wild cabbage) in the British Isles by J Larkcom – 2008 – Kodansha America
Wild cabbages and the effects of cultivation by ND Mitchell – Watsonia, 1976 – archive.bsbi.org.uk
The effects of lead species and growth time on accumulation of Lead in Chinese Cabbage by R Ruggles Gates – Journal of genetics, 1953 – Springer
The Portuguese tronchuda cabbage and galega kale landraces: a historical review by M Corley, S Mutiti – Global Challenges, 2017 – Wiley Online Library
A comparison of the levels of heavy metals in cabbages irrigated with reservoir and tap water by JS Dias – Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 1995 – Springer