Planning for Cole Crops

By National Gardening Association Editors

Selecting the right site will help you produce a healthy crop of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other cole crops.

Site Selection

Cole crops can be planted just about anywhere in the garden. As long as they get six to eight hours of sun each day, they don't mind a little shade from neighboring rows. Your only considerations will be crop rotation and how long the crop will occupy the spot you give it. For instance, Brussels sprouts take the entire growing season, yet some varieties of broccoli will be finished in as little as 30 days from transplant time.

Crop Rotation -- A Must!

One final word before you plant your cole crops; be sure you don't plant any member of the cabbage family in the same place in successive years. Also, rotate if you plant more than one crop the same season. The insects and diseases that bother cole crops remain in the soil, and your crops will be spared considerable damage if you plant them where beans, peas, tomatoes or other vegetables grew previously.

If you garden in a community plot, it can be worth your while to find out what crops were in that plot during the previous year, and rotate your cole crops.

Double your Pleasure, Double your Fun

Even in the shortest growing season, you can enjoy a harvest from two gardens with just one garden spot with a little advance planning. By planting both spring and fall crops of cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower, you can have a steady supply of these vegetables. In warmer areas of the South and along the West Coast, you can grow cole crops throughout the winter.

Early-Bird Spring Gardening

Plan to start your first crop of cole-family plants indoors and transplant the seedlings early, waiting only until the ground is dry enough to work and you're not expecting another hard freeze. Allow four to six weeks from planting the seeds indoors to transplanting.

Certain varieties are designed as early maturing and others as late maturing, so you can extend the harvest by planting more than one variety. In general, the early varieties are meant for the spring planting, but you can mix and match with very few, if any, problems.

Other articles in this series:
1. The Cole Crop Family
2. Broccoli Essentials
3. Cabbage Essentials
4. Cole Crops and Soil
5. Planning for Cole Crops ← you're on this article right now
6. Fall Cole Crop Bonus
7. Hardening-Off Your Cole Crops
8. Starting Cole Crop Seeds Indoors
9. Brussels Sprout Essentials

This article is a part of our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower & Company / Getting Started.

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