Pick a reasonably sunny spot where no other brassica has been grown for the previous 2 years. Preferably choose a bed where peas or beans were grown last year, these plants fix nitrogen in the soil that the cabbages will use.
Cabbage prefers firm soil to root into. It is advisable to leave several months after digging before planting. Dig in plenty of well rotted manure or organic matter in Autumn. Don't use manure too close to planting time as it makes the soil acidic. Ensure the soil is not acidic before planting time, lime if necessary in winter, you should aim for a pH of 6.5 - 7.0. Acid conditions inhibit growth and encourage club root.
Seedlings are ready to transplant when they have 5 or 6 leaves. Water the plants the day before transplanting. In their final positions; leave 30cm (12in) between plants for compact varieties, 45cm (18in) for large headed types. For spring cabbage leave only 10cm (4in) between plants but maintain 30cm (12in) between rows, the thinnings will provide spring greens in March.
Cabbages like compacted soil, so ensure you firm them into place. Avoid re-transplanting later.
Harvest cabbages by cutting horizontally close to the ground with a sharp knife. With spring and summer varieties; cut a cross in the remaining stump to grow a secondary crop of small cabbages from it.
In March thin out the spring cabbage rows and use the young plants as spring greens. The remaining plants can be left for cutting in April or May.
Most cabbages are cut when needed. To store red and winter cabbages, cut off roots and stems, remove outer leaves and place in a straw-lined box in a cool, dry place. The heads should keep until March.