Monday, October 8, 2012

Keep Broccoli and Other Cole Crops in the Ground in the North

Image: Gibby's Garden
October is here and most vegetables have died off or are on their way out, at least here in the north. Even though the tomatoes, cukes and beans have gone by, leave your cole crops right where they are – happily rooted in the garden. They love cool weather and will continue to provide fresh vegetables until a hard frost comes along and kills them.

What are Cole Crops?

Basically, cole crops are cool season crops. They are part of the Cruciferae or mustard family and for the most part, are cold tolerant. Cool season crops grow best when temperatures are below 80˚F during the day and 60˚F at night.

List of Cole Crops

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage (red and green)
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi

For more information on cole crops including planting, care, harvesting and storage, please visit Here you’ll find a great guide about cole crops put out by the Iowa State University Extension. I recommend you read it if you’re interested in growing cole crops next year or want to gain a little more knowledge on the subject.

Here in Maine we’ve had a few slight frosts but my broccoli plants are still going strong. Each week I get lots of side shoots which I dutifully harvest encouraging my plants to keep producing. Sure my plants don’t look like they did this summer, I’ve snipped off quite a few yellow leaves, but the main plant stems are still healthy and I intend to leave them in the ground for as long as I can.

Which cole crops do you or did have in your garden?

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