Friday, November 22, 2013

Enjoying Hardy Brassica Vegetables By Joyce D’Agostino

Collard Greens Photo by Joyce  D'Agostino
If you grow any vegetables from the Brassica family (Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Colza, Hanover Salad, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Rutabaga, Turnip) you may notice that even though the days are shorter and we have experienced some cold weather and even frosts, they seem to still be alive and well. 
As the summer started to wind down, I planted Collard Greens (Brassica oleracea) which quickly came up and despite a late season hailstorm which tattered some of its leaves, it is still doing well and ready for harvest even though we are well into fall.

In fact, most of the Brassicas improve in flavor once they have had a nip of frost. When you harvest these vegetables, some will winter over if some of the leaves remain and the roots are intact. Add a layer of mulch with leaves or pine bark to help protect the plant during the cold winter months. Many of these vegetables are considered to be nutritional powerhouses and are great to add to your fall and winter meals.
If you missed planting any of these for your fall garden, you can  add them in the spring. These hardy vegetables like cool spring weather too, so look for these seeds and plants as you plan your 2014 garden. Remember the seed catalogues for the new year will be arriving soon!
Here is a Planttalk tip sheet that gives you some information about growing and enjoying plants in this family: