Health Power

Similar to Brussels sprouts, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage increase the production and action of enzymes that detoxify the body. Beyond antioxidant action that removes dangerous free radicals, crucifers make DNA produce more detoxification and anti-cancer enzymes. Enhance natural defenses by stimulating production of antioxidant compounds like glutathione. Supply sulfur compounds like sinigrin and sulforaphane that catalyze production of anti-carcinogens. Also affect the expression of cancer-related genes. Amino acid glutamine helps restore stomach lining after peptic ulcer. See Brussels Sprouts for more on the health power of crucifers.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – K, C, B6 (Pyridoxine), B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin) and A
Minerals – Manganese, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium

Disease Prevention

Reduces risk, symptoms and proliferation of cancer more than any other fruits or vegetables in prostate, colon, lung, stomach, breast, ovaries and bladder. Possibly occurs through increasing levels of isothiocyanate after eating crucifers. A potent anti-cancer molecule that binds to toxins inducing their removal, stimulates cancer cell death, prevents excess cellular dividing and promotes the healthy metabolism of hormones like estrogen.

How to Grow

Cabbages come in dense versions, with green, red and purple heads, and loose leaf versions including bok choy. Can be harvested all year long in a mild climate with moist winters. Three divisions among varieties based on harvest time: spring, summer and fall/winter. For spring cabbages, sow seeds in seed beds with shallow drills spaced 6 inches apart in mid- to late summer. Don’t make the drills very long, as you only need 1.5 feet to produce 60-90 plants. Plant them out beginning early fall. Spring cabbages grow in moderate climates only. For summer cabbages, sow seeds in trays near the end of winter. These need to be transplanted indoors into a bigger container and kept under light or in a greenhouse. Or you may wait longer and sow them outdoors in the spring when air and ground temperatures rise. For autumn/winter cabbages, which include red cabbage, sow seeds in a bed with shallow drills in mid- to late spring with the same spacing as spring cabbages. For all varieties, transplant when seedlings have grown roughly 3 inches. Soften the seed bed with water the evening before. Fill a small dirt hole with water and soak the seedling roots until they are covered in muddy water. Plant each seedling in holes 6 inches deep and 18 inches apart in rows spaced out 18 inches as well. Keep weed-free and watered. Harvest when hearts feel solid. Cut at the base of stems. You can preserve some varieties in a cool shed hung upside down.

Insect Control

See Brussels Sprouts for how to rid pests.


Spring cabbages need a handful of fertilizer per plant in late winter to keep them growing. Cook lightly to retain more phytonutrients. Choose organic varieties, which have more phytonutrients that reduce cancer risk.

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