(Brassica oleraceae) The wild ancestors of cabbage hail from the Mediterranean and spread to Europe. Southern Europeans selected for heat tolerant, loose-leafed varieties, similar to what we today call kale or collards, while northern Europeans selected for large, tight heads adapted to withstand cold weather. Cabbage prefers cool weather, ample, even moisture and rich soil. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost, and set the seedlings outdoors for two weeks before planting to harden off, or sow seeds directly into rich soil, ¼ inch deep, 10 inches apart. Ideal germination temperature is 70 F but seeds will germinate in cooler soil. Plant mid summer for fall harvest. If you have very hot summers, you will need to start the seeds indoors in a cooler spot and transplant out into the garden, keeping a close eye on the plants' water needs. Plants grow slower after the solstice, so be sure to add an extra two weeks to your cabbage planting calculations. For example, if your variety requires 85 days to maturity and your first frost date is mid October, you will add 2 weeks for a planting date of mid July.
60 days. This loose-leafed cabbage dates back to the early 1800s at least. It has beautiful, heavily savoyed, deep black-green leaves that can be 24 inches long. This Italian heirloom is popular in Tuscany and central Italy for making fabulous soups and stews and is one of the most beautiful and flavorful types you can grow. One of the healthiest vegetables we ever tested! It can have up to 3 times the recommended daily vitamin A, plus loads of minerals, calcium, and vitamin C, as well as lots of fiber and protein, truly a miraculous plant from historic Italy.