How To Tell When Cabbage Is Ready To Harvest – Signs You Should Know

Confused about how to tell when cabbage is ready to harvest?

We hear you – it can be quite a confusing thing for some people to really know when this crop is ready to be picked and harvested.

But did you know that it is actually not that complicated?

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, knowing whether a cabbage is ready for harvesting is important. By doing so, you can be sure that your crop is at its best condition both aesthetically and nutritionally.

Learn more about these signs that let you know once your crop is harvest-ready or not. Let’s get started!

how to tell when cabbage is ready to harvest

How to Tell When Cabbage is Ready to Harvest

Are there really signs that let you know how to tell when cabbage is ready to harvest?

Yes, definitely!

By studying the condition of the crop about to be harvested, you can determine its readiness. It is only a matter of knowing what you should be looking for to prevent making any mistake with picking out a crop too soon.

Here are the different signs you need to know.

1. Observe the Head

The greatest sign that lets you know whether a cabbage is ready to be harvested is the quality of the head.

Be sure to squeeze the head a little – if it is firm and does not have any give, then it should be good for harvesting.

But there is another thing to keep in mind – looks can sometimes be deceiving. For instance, the head may be firm to the touch but the inside portion is flimsy and loose.

In this case, you should check further, which I will discuss in the next section.

2. Cut the Stem

Checking out the quality and appearance of the head is not enough.

In some cases, you may need to inspect the inside of the head.

Thus, a knife is useful for cutting through the stem, just right below the crop’s head. Slice the head but make sure the knife stays in the ground.

In many cases, a second cabbage head should grow within the base of the cabbage head you just harvested. These additional heads should form when the weather is cool enough.

What’s great about this technique is that even if the extra heads are not as large and dense as the head you have cut off, the taste is still quite good.

3. Check the Calendar

There are some varieties of cabbage with only a small window when it comes to harvesting periods. Some varieties should be fine even if left unharvested in the garden without deteriorating. But this is mostly the case when the weather is nice and cool.

If you have a large cabbage in the garden, you can expect it to hold up quite well even if you keep it on the plant.

But with smaller varieties, this may not be the case. Harvesting them right away may be required to prevent them from going bad quickly.

What to Do After Harvesting Your Cabbage

Now that you know how to tell when cabbage is ready to harvest, the next question is what should you do with it now?

Does it go bad quickly?

Should you eat it immediately?

Or can it last longer than you think?

For the most part, your freshly-harvested, good quality cabbage should be fine to sit in the refrigerator between 2 and 3 weeks. Never place your cabbage in an airtight container or bag.

The secret to making your cabbage last longer is by ensuring proper airflow.

If you harvest cabbage at the right time, then you can expect this vegetable to offer as many vitamins and minerals as expected. This is why it is very important that you know the perfect timing for harvesting your crop.

A good quality cabbage is packed with nutrition. These include vitamin B6, A, K, and C. There is also a good amount of fiber in fresh cabbage.

With these things in mind, it is very important that you pay attention to the signs discussed earlier on how to tell when cabbage is ready to harvest.

If you want to know the timing, you can easily read the details on when your cabbage should be available as indicated in the package. But many varieties of cabbage should be ready in 63 days. As for others, it can go between 71 and 88 days.

Please check out this video to know more about how to harvest cabbage:

Additional Tips on Harvesting Cabbage

In many instances, especially with new gardeners, there are tendencies to harvest cabbage at a later or earlier time.

This is a common mistake that results in wastage of the crop.

Although some cabbages should taste fine even if harvested early, this can impact the nutritional value. When the crop is not yet ready for harvesting, this minimizes the nutrients you get from it.

By waiting for a bit more time or by knowing exactly the right time to harvest the crop, you would have expected your cabbage to turn out much better. Moreover, it will be tastier, more aesthetically appealing, and just healthier overall.

So, be sure to stay on top of the correct time to harvest your cabbage. You can learn more about it from the seed package or by learning more about the target harvest dates that each variety of cabbage has to offer.


Knowing how to tell when cabbage is ready to harvest is important to achieve the best results.

We hope that after reading this post and discovering the signs and techniques to determine the crop’s readiness, you were able to learn what it takes to produce the perfect cabbage.

Then, you can be sure that all your efforts are into good use due to the high quality outcome of your crop each time.

1 thought on “How To Tell When Cabbage Is Ready To Harvest – Signs You Should Know”

  1. great info and I appreciate the time and effort you put into this video. I’m off to go harvest my own cabbage and begin my large sauerkraut ferment. I’m going to check out your other youtube vids as well. BTW I love that you left in the part about using the wrong knife initially, when content makers show “mistakes” then I know they are real people, doing real things.

    Perfect doesn’t exist in our world of gardening/farming….
    thanks again @OldSchoolPrepper aka Martha


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