One problem I always run into in my small garden is how much of any one crop to plant. Of course, I know we’ll use all the tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers we can grow. A four-foot row of peas wasn’t nearly enough to make them worth the space, and four feet of kale is more than enough. Before this year, I hadn’t grown cabbage. But I’ve been growing fond of it, cooked and raw, in a lot of ways, and red cabbage in particular is really packed with vitamins. 

So this spring when I saw some red cabbage seedlings, and planted the lot of them. All nine. In a little less than a four-foot row. The right number of seedlings to plant in that space was four or probably three. Over the growing season, one of my nine seedlings got pulled out by birds (or dogs,) and I thinned out two more over time. They’re still too close together, and the one at the end with the most light is growing at the expense of the others.

Lots of cabbages, crowded together.

Next year, I really have to think more about the eventual size of each plant and more about how much of each crop I can actually use. For the space they take up, three or four cabbages next year would be about right. They should keep growing until at least the first frost, but I can probably harvest a few earlier than that. But unless we’re going to eat five pounds of cabbage a week, there’s no need for nine.

Scout is looking good by the biggest cabbage.

The other thing to remember is that red cabbage is a really ornamental plant. I might try growing it in some of the flower bed next year, maybe in pots, or maybe directly in the ground. That would free up space for a more compact crop.