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Participant Stories: “Make Your Own Cabbage Patch”

By John Gannon

Cabbage is a frost-tolerant crop which makes it perfect to grow in your backyard over Winter, however, there are many types of cabbage that can be grown year-round. Diggers club recommends sowing between January-March for a Winter harvest, and between June-December for a Summer harvest. It likes plenty of sun, and well-drained, rich soil. It is a nutrient-dense food rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and K. It is good for our brain, heart, vision, and may contain anti-cancer properties, and reduce inflammation.

How to grow?

You can either grow in a container that is at least 20cm deep and wide (make sure it has holes in the bottom for drainage) or you can grow it in the ground. Cabbage are heavy feeders so dig some compost into the soil beforehand if growing in the ground or use a good quality potting mix if you’re growing it in a container.

You can grow from seed, or from a seedling. If growing by seed sow in punnets. Once they grow to a seedling size transplant into a container (must have drainage) or transplant into the ground, burying the stem 3cm deep according to the spacing instructions on the seed packet.

They need regular watering and will grow into mature heads in around 14-18 weeks. When heads reach desired size and are firm (but before it splits!) cut from the base with a knife and immediately put it in shade or bring inside. They can be stored in the fridge for 2-4 weeks in a perforated plastic bag.

For longer-term storage, you can store them in a root cellar or ferment or freeze cabbage. Cabbage is fermented in the form of sauerkraut in Europe, and in the form of kimchi in South Korea. Both are excellent for health. The head should be ready after approximately 75 days.

Here are a couple of delicious recipes you can use once you’ve grown your cabbages.

Cabbage Soup Recipe


  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 100g butter
  • 2 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 200g potatoes
  • 1L veg stock
  • 2x 400g tomatoes chopped
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 200g beans chopped
  • 250g cabbage diced
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 cans of cannelloni beans- rinsed and drained.
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley


Heat oil and butter in a pan. Add onions, fry. Add carrots and potatoes. Cook 3 min, stirring. Transfer into a large saucepan and add stock, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cabbage, and celery. Stir and boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hr until vegetables are tender and the mixture thickens. When almost ready add cannelloni beans, salt, and pepper. Add parsley and serve with parmesan cheese.

Gyoza Dumplings Recipe


  • Gyoza dumpling wrappers (you can buy these from Woolworths)
  • 500g chicken or pork mince
  • 1 cup green cabbage finely chopped.
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp cornflour


In a large bowl combine minced chicken/pork, chopped cabbage, ginger, and garlic. Then add soy sauce, salt, cornflour. Mix thoroughly. Place half a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water and fold it over the dumpling and press down the edges to seal.

Heat oil in a shallow fry pan on medium heat. Place dumplings in the pan and fry till bottom side golden. Then add 1/3 cup water around dumplings and cook for 4 min until wrapper turns translucent. Serve with soy sauce and vinegar and or chili oil.

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