This guide shows how to grow cole crops in your home vegetable garden. The Cole family of vegetables comprises several hardy vegetables. Cole crops thrive in the cooler weather of spring and autumn. They may go dormant in the hottest days of summer. And members of the cabbage family are as hardy as they come. They withstand frost and freeze. Actually, the flavor improves after a frost. They are among the last of the vegetables harvested in the fall. They can often be picked after a light snow. All the members of this family have a strong flavor.
Cabbage is a member of the mustard family. Like all members of the cole family, it has a strong and distinct flavor. Medical studies are showing that members of the cabbage family are beneficial to your health. The studies suggest that they help to guard against cancer, especially colon and rectal cancers. Of particular note in this category is broccoli.
Here are the links to growing different cole crops:
Broccoli – A favorite member of the cabbage family. Broccoli is grown for its immature flower or head. Pick it before the flower starts to unfold, or it will turn bitter. If planted in early spring, you can get a large head in the spring, followed by many sides shoots into the late fall season.
Brussels Sprouts – This vegetable grows into a tall plant with a large stalk. By breaking off the lower leaves at the stalk, you encourage a round sprout to develop. While not too difficult to grow, this vegetable is susceptible to major aphid infestations, just as this flavorful vegetable is maturing. As a result, spraying is all but a must.
Brussels Sprouts were developed in Brussels in the 14th Century.
Cabbage – Cabbages varieties include red or white, with white being the most common. Easy to grow in cool weather, they tend to rot in hot weather. Importantly, cabbage is highly susceptible to cabbage loopers. They are best grown as a fall crop. Cabbages harvested in the fall are often picked as the snow begins to fly.
Chinese Cabbage – Oriental varieties are growing in popularity.
Cauliflower – Cauliflower is grown for the white “flower”, or head. It is best grown as a fall crop. Tie the leaves around the developing head to blanch it into a creamy white color.
Did you know? There are varieties of cabbage and cauliflower that are grown as a flower? These are varieties that have colorful leaves and flowers.
The cabbage family is extremely susceptible to insects. Among the most common are aphids, and cabbage loopers. Cabbage loopers are the larva stage of a moth. Those white moths that visit your garden and yard are the culprits. Some people call them white butterflies. Effective treatment in the home garden is to place a screen over the plant so the moth cannot lay her eggs. Commercial growers apply insecticides to control them. Control Aphids with frequent spraying. Organic controls in the form of soap or garlic sprays are also effective, too.
All members of the cabbage family like cool and even cold weather. They can be among the first plants in your garden each spring. Start them indoors, and plant them before the last frost, freeze, or snow. They will survive below thirty degrees. In the fall, they will be your last crops to survive the increasingly frequent frosts.
While the cabbage family thrives on cool weather, many varieties will rot, or go dormant during hot weather.