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Vegetable Gardening with Brassicas

It’s fall, y’all! Now is the time that you get your vegetable plants in the ground.

You’ve still got time to plant by seed if you haven’t found your favorite varieties yet. Fall is a great time to plant Brassicas in the vegetable garden. Brassicas are part of the Mustard Family, and are also known as Cole crops or Crucifers. They go by the name Crucifers because the flower petals grow in a symmetrical four-way cross. The literal translation means “cross bearing.”

Assuming that you’re still shopping around, you’ll have much more options if you choose to purchase vegetable seeds from the local seed stores or shop online. We have a few boxes of seed catalogs at the extension office if you would like to check them out. While some stores do offer seedlings, you typically do not have as many variety options to choose from since it’s easier to make space for seed packets than actual plants. Here are some suggestions of varieties for a few Brassica species:

  • Broccoli—Early Green, Waltham, Packman
  • Brussel sprouts—Jade Cross, Long Island Improved
  • Cabbage—Rio Verde, Flat Dutch, Savoy
  • Cauliflower—Snow Crown, Romanesco, Graffiti, Cheddar (Featured Image)
  • Collards—Georgia, Top Bunch, Georgia Southern
  • Mustards—Florida Broad Leaf, Southern Giant Curled, Red Giant
  • Turnips—Seven Top, Shogoin, Purple Top White Globe

Once you select and plant your brassicas, be sure to check out our EDIS publications on the specific plants and their cultural requirements. Here is an example of a publication on brussel sprouts: Brussel sprouts

Experimental cabbage from Hastings, FL.

are much heavier feeders than the mustard greens, and will therefore require more fertilization. They also have a tendency to be deficient in boron. While researching, also look into potential vegetable pests. Get an idea of what your plant is susceptible to, and then scout regularly for disease symptoms and signs of insect damage. It only takes a few days for caterpillars to completely devour a plant. Depending on the species and variety, days to maturity will vary. Contact us if you need assistance on growing your vegetables!

2 Comments on “Vegetable Gardening with Brassicas

  1. Hi Prissy,
    I am seeing small caterpillars on my collards and kale. What is the best option for spraying on leaves I will be eating soon?
    Also what fertilizer do I use on my leafy greens?
    Thank you!

    • Hello Kim! If you don’t mind, please send me a photo ( of the caterpillars before I make a recommendation. First step of IPM is identification! Also, have you tested your soil nutrients within the past year? If not, go with a low grade fertilizer similar to 6-4-6. We try to avoid fertilizers with a high phosphorus percentage (the middle number) unless your soil is deficient. Leafy greens also benefit from a side dressing of nitrogen, such as ammonium sulfate. Be sure to apply it very conservatively and just outside of the leaves to avoid burning the plant.

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