21. December 2022

Broadcast Seeding Cabbage in Large Troughs

How do we grow plenty of cabbage plants in one go? Well, I have a method in mind. Why not try broadcast seeding cabbage in large troughs? This is how you do it.

Broadcast seeding cabbage in a large trough.

Today, I'm broadcast seeding cabbage in large troughs at the garden center where I'm interning. You can use these types of troughs for many other projects too of course!


Cabbage is as you probably know one of my favorite vegetables here in the kitchen garden. However, it might not be the easiest one to grow. Mainly because of the many pests that most cabbage varieties seem to attract. If you grow it yourself, then you've probably come across cabbage worms that can really bring an entire cabbage patch to its knees. I can't help it though, I just love growing cabbage! The little seeds will eventually grow into very large plants. Plenty of food that is! And we have so many different varieties to pick from!


Read more: 10 cabbage varieties and how to use them


I wanted to write a little about broadcast seeding cabbage in large troughs today! This is something I actually don't do that often. I generally sow my cabbage in smaller troughs or plug trays instead. But then I found out about this method in spring. It might be an option if you want to start selling cabbage, or perhaps grow in a community vegetable garden. I'm actually interning (in lack of a better word) at a charming garden center in my village, and this is where my new garden guru Anna-Stina showed me this great new method.


The Trough

This sowing needs to be in a heated space, so don't leave it outside in winter. You can use basically any trough you want. But since I'm writing about growing a lot of plants at once today, we are of course going to use a larger one.

The troughs here at the garden center are shallow and made out of hard plastic. I have similar ones at home too, but I usually just grow summer flowers here. You can probably find these kinds of troughs in your local stores too. Just make sure that the plastic is sturdy enough.


Broadcast seeding cabbage in four troughs filled with soil.

It's really easy to grow cabbage in large troughs like these. We do it often here at the garden center, so we always have new plants to sell.


Broadcast Seeding Cabbage

Anna-Stina uses regular planting soil when she's broadcast seeding cabbage in these large troughs. She fills the troughs halfway up and then adds the water. After that, it's time to basically start kneading the soil to make sure that it's damp all the way through. Just make sure that it's not completely soaked!

She flattens the soil after watering it. Anna-Stina uses the tool in the picture above to create a smooth surface in no-time.

Then, she scatters the seeds quite close together on the soil. Not too close though, since it's better to sow twice than to have the seeds pile on top of each other in the trough.

After that, she covers the sowing with a thin layer of soil and flattens it again.

The next step is to let a newspaper (made with non-toxic ink) soak in a tub of water. So, the newspaper should be wet. Put it on top of the soil and it will keep it moist while you wait for the seeds to germinate.


Read more: Why is my cabbage splitting?


Broadcast seeding cabbage in a greenhouse.

A row of troughs on a long table in the greenhouse. They are all covered with damp newspapers that keep the soil wet while we wait for the seeds to germinate.


A hand lifting a paper above a trough.

The soil underneath the newspapers is even and damp. When we're broadcast seeding cabbage at the same level, we get a better chance of an even rate of germination.


It only takes a few days for the cabbage seeds to germinate and most of the seeds do it at the same time. You just need to lift the newspaper now and then. Remove the papers when you start seeing little light green dots on top of the soil. Now, it's time for the tiny seedlings to meet the light!


More: Growing cabbage from sowing to harvest 


Not Just Cabbage

You might not feel the need to grow a few hundred cabbage plants if you do it just for fun. I usually put several vegetables in each trough, and separate the different areas with little twigs.

This is a method you can use for plenty of other projects too of course. For example summer flowers and vegetables together. You can fit lots of plants in this trough and since the soil is damp and covered, you barely need to water it. Very low-maintenance! At least at this stage. I hope you try broadcast seeding cabbage in large troughs too!
/Sara Bäckmo


2 responses to “Broadcast Seeding Cabbage in Large Troughs”

  1. Bill Smith says:

    As the plants get bigger, do you leave them in the trough or do they get transplanted? If transplanted, do they mind their roots getting disturbed?

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