Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cole Crops


Cole crop is a term used by gardeners when we are talking about plants in the cabbage family. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and collards are all spring cole crops that can be planted again in summer for fall harvest. Other crops that can be planted now include root crops, usually grown from seed, like radishes, beets and turnips. And, as cooler weather approaches, consider another crop of lettuce. Most of the leaf lettuce varieties and the smaller head lettuces have plenty of time to mature; in fact, the leaf lettuces can be cut and used three times before the end of the fall growing season.
Lettuces and cole crops in raised bed

To grow cool season crops, plant transplants in an area receiving at least six hours of sun for best results. Broccoli and cabbage need about eighteen inches to two feet between plants. Use a starter solution like Espoma's Bio-tone  to get them off and growing. Most cole crops are known as heavy feeders, meaning that they use a good amount of fertilizer to keep them healthy and growing. Our garden shop offers many organic choices for plant foods, including those from Espoma, Dr. Earth and Bradfield Organics.
Cabbage family plants are sometimes targeted by imported cabbage worms or loopers. Spray with a natural product like Bonide's Thuricide to keep them from harming leaves as the plant is growing.
 For more about planting vegetable crops, stop in and ask for our free Vegetable Planting Guide. It contains great tips that can be used in spring or fall. And keep that vegetable garden producing well into fall by adding cole crops now.

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