Garden Supplies

Growing Cole Crops

The cole crops comprising broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, are noted for their hardiness and ability to withstand the cold. Since all cole crops require similar soil conditions and methods of cultivation, details are given for broccoli but are not repeated for the other crops.

Sprouting broccoli is adapted to widely different soils as long as they are fertile, of good texture, and moist. It is a heavy feeder so both compost and commercial fertilizer should be liberally used. Plants grown indoors in the early spring and set in the open about April 1 begin to yield sprouts about 10 weeks later. Seed can be planted straight into the ground for the fall crop. The sprouts carrying flower buds should be cut when they are about 6 inches long. If you keep them cut and don't let them blossom, you can have a continual supply throughout the season as small side shoots grow to replace the head.

Brussels sprouts are somewhat more hardy than cabbage and will live outdoors over winter in all the milder sections of the country. They are slower growing than other cole crops taking between 90-100 days to reach maturity. As the sprouts swell, break the lower leaves from the stem of the plant to give them more room, but always leave the top leaves which are needed to supply nourishment.

Cabbage ranks as one of the most important home-garden crops. It is often planted out in the autumn, as its extreme hardiness enables it to live over winter at relatively low temperatures and thus become one of the first spring garden crops. Early varieties mature in as little as 62 days, but late types can take as long as 110 days.

Cauliflower is a hardy vegetable but it will not withstand as much frost as cabbage. Neither will it produce a head in too much warm weather. To whiten or blanch cauliflower heads in the garden, pull the large outer leaves up over the head and secure with a rubber band. Keep this in place for a few days to whiten the curd.



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