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It's Time To Meet The Cole's

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Meet the Cole family – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprouts. There are more but these are the most common for home gardeners. All are from the Brassica oleracea family, but different groups. They are all Very Hardy plants and thrive in the cold weather. Since they all grow similarly, with the same basic conditions we wanted to introduce all of these. Common traits: They should be planted in cool weather (they can handle low 20’s F)  and they need their space, crowded plants don’t do well. 18 – 24 inches apart is great. They do best during the growing season of days less than 80 ‘s F in the day and 20 degrees less at night. If it’s cold for too long or very hot the heads will not form and they will bolt (go directly to seed). Plant 4 – 6 week old transplants with several true leaves in the garden about 2-3 weeks before the last frost date. If they are leggy plant them deep (like tomatoes).  They can be planted in the fall where winters are mild and can be direct sown in early- mid autumn. Ideal soil is good ,well drained organic loam. Some sand added when transplanting will help with drainage. Watch for green cabbage worms, (small green grenades in the folds of the leaves are a sure sign) and other pests. you can remove the worms by hand or use a mild vinegar solution and spray it on for other troubles. Colors can range from green, to purple, to white, purple, and yellow in cauliflower. This family is all high in both iron and beta-carotene and have many other essential vitamins and minerals. Companions: Plant Nasturtiums under and around your plants for natural bug repellant,, others that are good companions are beets, rosemary, dill , sage and potatos. Keep away from garlic, strawberries, pole beans, mustards and rue. Individual traits: Broccoli and Cauliflower – Have large heads on tall stems from the Botrytis Group. Harvest time is from 40-80 days from transplant time depending on the variety. Cut the compact 4-8 inch heads from the main stem and then let the secondary heads develop. If small yellow fowers form on your broccoli it is past the good eating stage so watch carefully. Cauliflower needs to be blanched (protection of the head from the sun) do this by tieing 3-4 leaves around the head when it is about the size of a goose egg. Self Blanching varieties are great , but will not blanch if it is too hot. Cabbage –  Have Large heads on short stems from the Capitata Group. Harvest time is from 60 – 105 days depending on variety. Cut the main, usually single, head from the stem at ground level leaving the outer leaves. Cabbage heads will split in very hot weather or from inconsistent watering. It drinks too much at once and blows itself apart. Brussels Sprouts – Have many small heads on a tall stem from the Gemmifera Group. Harvest time is 70-110 days depending on the variety and have one of the longest growing sasons. Cut the small heads and remove leaves from the main stem from the bottom up as they develop and the season progresses. The sprouts will become bitter if it is cold too long or very hot. Hope you enjoyed meeting the Cole’s they are a wonderful family and can be savored in so many ways. From steamed to stewed they are delicious. Remember to sign up for our updates and/or our RSS feed. Peace and Prosperity, Rich @ NY Homesteader

2 comments to It’s Time To Meet The Cole’s

  • That’s a killer graffiti/cheddar/whatever white one that is photo!

    Thanks for the blanch when a goose egg tip — never had to do it yet but I’ve wondered when you start.

  • They sure are Eliza ,, we love Cauliflower here ,,, yeah my Grandfather told me the Blanch tip when I was just a kid. For some reason the “goose egg” thing just stuck with me !! Thanks again!
    Peace and Prosperity,,
    Rich @ NY Homesteader

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