get your brassicaceae in gear.

Its cole crop time. Brussles, Brocholli, Rutabaga, Cauliflower Cabbage and the like, are plants you can easily grow from seed and plant into the veggie garden for fall and winter and spring harvest and foraging.

Its really easy to do. Get a pot of decent soil and fill up a one or two gallon sized nursery pot. Get some seed.  And plant the seed on a firmed(lightly pressed soil). Then grab a handful of soil and place between your two hands and then rub the hands together, crumbling little bits of soil across the the top of the seed, just enough to cover them.

Place in a full-sun location. Water with a fogger-type nozzle on the end of a garden hose so as not to splash the seed and soil around through water action. Mist thoroughly and water once a day for a few days enough to keep moist. The seed will germinate and grow pretty rapidly.

When the first leaves arrive, expect to see evidence of the cabbage looper shortly afterwards. It will be in the form of a small, light green worm, the larval off-spring, a caterpillar, of the nocturnal Cabbage Looper Moth. You’ll one day see leaves chewed or absent. You generally see the evidence before you see the worm itself since, I believe, it usually is on the underside of the leaf and starts off very very small in size.

So expect to spray something like thuricide. At least, that’s the thing I learned many years ago from my good friend Lee Russel Smith. There may be a newer safer product recommended now, but Thuricide is a  liquid made from bacillus thuringiensis which is a natural material that works well to keep your plants safe. Its an old standard. You can get it just about anywhere plants are sold.

Grow off your pot of brassicas with additional fertilizer such as fish emulsion or manure tea (yum!). Once they reach about six inches high, it’ll be october and they’ll be ready to go straight into the garden row. Just shake out the soil off the pot with the seedlings and then grab the seedlings like you would a pony tail and with both hands, shake the soil loose until all soil is absent and plants are completely bare rooted. Then plant away!

Plant them in double rows, meaning two rows of plants, a foot or sixteen inches apart, staggered so plants are not directly across from one another.  You can actually save even more space by doing a row-planting with three staggered rows of plants.

Brassicas love food so feed them regularly, like it says on the fish emulsion label or google manure teas.

Usually the plants will grow until very large. You’ll get some real produce come spring, with the big harvest for Broccholi and Brussels about March-April and then smaller amounts come up until it gets really hot, when the plants finally croak. Cabbage and cauliflower are one time harvests, generally.

Try it!


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