After enjoying your meal, your kitchen is leftover with lots of waste and vegetable scraps. Instead of throwing them, you can actually regrow veggies for your next meal (obviously after harvest).
This write-up is about growing cabbage from kitchen scraps. Regrowing from scraps not just save money, but the process is fun and can be a great learning for those who love to grow their own food.
Cabbage can tolerate cool weather and it is one of the easiest vegetable to grow at home.
It is known for its nutritional greens that can be used in salads, egg rolls, eaten raw, added to soup or cook to make delicious dish.
You can start growing cabbage at home without any prior planning. However, in this article I’ll cover important aspects like soil conditions, fertilizing the plant, harvesting and storing.
Growing Cabbage from Scraps
Let’s face it.
Food we consume today are filled with chemical fertilizers, this forced many people to start growing their own food or opt for organic vegetables.
Due to the shortage of organic farmers and cost of natural fertilizers, organic veggies aren’t cheap. Growing your own vegetables is the best way to cut your grocery bill and bring nutrients rich food to your plate.
So, instead of throwing leftovers, use them for composting, because not all scraps can be used reproduced. However, there are few parts that can help you to regrow.
Also Read: How to Grow Zucchini from Scraps?
What to you need to regrow cabbage from scraps?
Bottom of the cabbage that holds the leaves with stem is often sliced away. Many people assume it as useless part and throw it away. This is what you need to regrow cabbage magically at home.
Apart from this, you’ll need:
- Cabbage head (which is in good condition to regrow)
- Water (if you’re planning to grow hydroponically)
Also Read: Will Spinach Grow Back After Cutting?
Step-by-step: How to Grow Cabbage from Kitchen Scraps
Step: 1 Select good cabbage head from leftovers
While buying from grocery store, make sure the stem has descent size to shoot roots and regrow to new life.
It’s better to start with the fresh cabbage head, avoid choosing already thrown cabbage leftovers. You can use them (dried scraps) for composting, which in turn can fertilizer your vegetable garden.
Step: 2 Slice the cabbage
Now, slice the bottom of this vegetable that holds it to stem.
Pro tip: the scrap that you sliced must also contain some parts of the cabbage head. That is, cut 1/10th of cabbage head.
This leafy part will be used by scrap to sprout and start a new-life. New cabbage leaves will be popped from the fleshy (leafy) part of the scrap.
Gardening experts recommend growing 3-4 cabbage scraps at a time. If anything goes wrong with any one kitchen scrap, another will save your time.
Step: 3 Choose a container
If you’re looking to grow cabbage scrap in water, then accordingly select container that will help to immerse cabbage stem in water. A 1 liter tub can do the work.
Or else, you can initially immerse cabbage scrap in a container filled with water, in such a way that only its stem is dipped in water while the cabbage leafy part is above the container.
Once the roots start appearing, you can transplant it to a container filled with potting soil mix.
Also Read: Growing Chia Microgreens at Home
Can I Regrow Cabbage in Water?
A straight forward answer to this is, yes.
You can grow cabbage from scraps through hydroponics process. This way you don’t have to worry about soil, fertilizers or potting mix.
All you must do is to change/replace the water in container after every 3-4 days.
If you’re planning the other way, to grow in your backyard follow below mentioned method.
Regrowing Cabbage from Scraps (With Soil)
As mentioned above, cabbage is one such vegetable plant that can be grown in almost anywhere. However, for best yield you must follow below mentioned points.
Any plant needs nutrients that boost its growth and they get it from soil, sunlight and water.
These are 3 important things for any plant. We all agree this.
But, if you’re planning to plant cabbage scrap in a container, then you must make sure the soil is filled with required nutrients and it does holds moisture.
- Gardening experts recommend sandy loam or clay soil for growing cabbage.
- Well drained, at the same time able to moisture retentive with pH ranging from 6 to 7.
- Potting mix is best for growing any vegetable plant, as it is filled with elements like Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Potassium. These nutrients help in root growth, stem & leaf formation and improve plant yield.
- Potting mix is well drained yet has good water retention capacity. It contains peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, fertilizers and sand. You can find different recipes for making your own potting mix soil at home.
Fill the container of 8-12 inches deep with this potting soil.
Transplant the cabbage scrap and water using sprinkler. Read more about soil preparation and growing cabbage at home here.
Even and regular watering is essential to grow cabbage at home. Make sure the top 1 inch of the soil is moist.
- Water slowly and steadily. This will increase water absorption and avoid overwatering.
- Water twice in a day.
- Start in the morning. The sunlight throughout the day will help to restrain any fungal attack due to excess moisture.
Sunlight & Temperature
Temperature ranging between 45°F – 75°F is optimal for growing cabbage. Cooler regions are best to this vegetable plant.
It can also tolerate frost below 20°F temperature.
When to plant cabbage?
For Spring Planting for Summer Harvest
Though cabbage plants can tolerant cooler climates, its seedlings can’t survive. So, gardening experts at University of Minnesota recommends growing cabbage indoors until it grows 5 true leaves (about 3 weeks).
After that you can shift the container to outside to get maximum exposure to sunlight. However, make sure the plant is saved from wind.
You can now, transplant the cabbage plant to your backyards that gets good exposure to sunlight.
Note: If you wait for temperature to become normal, then your cabbage plant has to mature in hot summer which in turn reduces the yield.
Summer Planting for Fall Crop
In early July, you can plant the cabbage scrap in your backyard garden. If you’re planting cabbage seeds then you must start planting in first week of July.
You can expect cabbage head formation at the end of summer and starting of fall.
Process to plant or grow cabbage in both seasons remain same with little difference that, in spring you must take care of seedlings by placing them indoors to avoid frost.
If you’re using compost or manure then it will be enough for the plant to enhance its growth and yield. But, make sure that the manure you’re using to fertile the soil isn’t fresh, because it may contain bacteria that can harm your crop.
Spread the natural fertilizers in a 6 inch wide band. You can check organic fertilizers for your vegetable plant here.
Pests and Diseases
Most common problem faced while growing cabbages at home is splitting. Your cabbage head split before getting mature. This can be due to over-watering and depends on the cabbage variety you choose to grow. Mulching your plant can help to retain moisture in soil and avoid splitting.
Coming to pests, maggots, aphids, loopers and worms are common pests that attack cabbage plant.
- You can wash aphids away with strong stream of water. When you see zero aphids, trim the affected leaves. But, make sure you don’t damage the plant in this process.
- To kill or remove worms, use garlic spray; this natural insecticide will thwart cabbage worms. Another simple method is to remove these worms using hand.
Clubroot disease in Cabbage
This disease is caused by pathogens and it mainly affects cabbage family.
Yellow leaves, no harvest, swollen & rotten roots are common signs of this disease. To avoid this disease, you must make sure that seedlings you bought aren’t affected by pathogens. Also, make sure the tools are cleaned. Fresh compost isn’t recommended for this reason.
If incase your plant is already affected by this diseases, then try spraying lime juice to increase pH of the soil.
Experts say that once pathogens enter the soil they stay for years. Only way is to bury the plant and avoid planting cabbage family in that site for atleast 5-7 years. Read more about this here.
Apart from this, cabbage plant can be affected by other fungal and bacterial infection.
How long does it take to grow cabbage from scraps?
From transplanting it takes about 60-105 days to be ready for harvest. If you’re growing from seed, then you must wait for 80-180 days.
- Start harvesting once the cabbage head becomes firm.
- For spring planting, harvest the cabbage before the weather turns too hot.
- If the frost damaged outer leaves of the cabbage, remove the soiled or damaged leaf and you’re ready to use.
You can refrigerate cabbage for about 1 to 2 weeks.
Cabbage Plant Caring Tips
Apart from watering, you must regularly watch your plant to check fungal or bacterial infection.
- Natural fertilizers listed above can enhance root & stem growth.
- Mulching is one of the effective ways to protect your plant from warmer climates.
- Avoid over-watering; this may result in splitting heads.
- Gardening experts say, adding nitrogen to the soil can improve head size of the cabbage.
- You can prune cabbage if necessary to remove limp leaves. In some cases, you might have to trim healthy leaves if they encroach of other plants.
How much space does a cabbage plant need?
While sowing cabbage seeds, 1 inch apart is enough before sprouting will work. But, when planting seedlings 18-24 inches space must be provided.
This is because; the cabbage head needs space to grow. If you plant them closer, cabbage heads will be smaller while harvesting.
How to grow napa cabbage from scraps?
Unlike traditional one, napa or Chinese cabbage looks like a leafy lettuce. You can grow them too at your home.
Slice the bottom of the napa cabbage that holds the stem. Immerse in water and replace it after few days.
When the roots shoot up, you can transplant the cabbage into garden.
Growing cabbage from scraps starts by choosing the perfect head. You can either try planting in a container after sprouting or grow in water.
While growing in water, make sure the top part of the cabbage scrap isn’t dipped in water. Regularly replace the water after every few days.