July 7, 2016
My Growing Cole Crops
Here in the Northeast, temperatures are expected to hit the 90s for the rest of the week.
So far, this summer’s weather has been quite pleasant, although we could use a good soaking rain. The gardens at my farm are looking healthy and growing well. In particular, the vegetable gardens, which are located down by the chicken coops. I check up on the vegetable gardens whenever I can - it’s always so exciting to see what's popping up. One of the most impressive crops is my section of Brassicas - mainly the cabbage and broccoli.
We've been tracking this year's progress. Take a look…
1 There's been so much growth in my vegetable garden these last few weeks. This garden is doing so well in this location. If you recall, it moved here just a few years ago, after I switched it with the flower garden.
2 Brassica is a genus of plants in the mustard family. Members are informally known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plants. They are also sometimes called cole crops.
3 From a distance, these plants look so amazing, especially since they looked so different less than 10-weeks ago.
4 This is what the garden looked like in May. The cabbage was started from seed and then planted in beds 12 to 24 inches apart in rows.
5 These vegetables should be in a sunny, well-drained site with fertile soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Our beds are also covered with organic, nutrient rich composted manure, which I call "black gold".
7 Practice crop rotation with cabbage year to year to avoid a buildup of soil borne diseases. The brassica crops were on the opposite side of this garden last season.
8 Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable. The trick to growing cabbage is steady, uninterrupted growth. By planning your growing season and providing diligent care, you may have two successful crops in one year, both spring and fall.
9 Ryan planted several rows of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in early May.
10 This was the vegetable garden in the first week of June.
11 And, this is what it looked like a week later.
12 Experimenting with varieties can make a huge difference in the success of a crop. Fast-growing cabbage that form small heads are great for space-squeezed gardens.
13 Green cabbage is basic, solid and long lasting. It has smooth, dark to pale green outer leaves, with inner leaves that are paler green to almost white.
14 Red cabbage contains a water soluble pigment called anthocyanin that changes color when mixed with an acid or a base. Its texture may be somewhat tougher than the green varieties, but red cabbage has more vitamin-C, providing 56-percent of the RDA in a one-cup serving.
15 Savoy cabbage is characterized by its very distinct crinkled leaves. Despite the appearance, the leaves are more tender and sweet than other varieties.
16 Look how much the cabbages have grown. Seeing all the beautiful, organic produce growing in my garden excites me year after year.
17 This photo was taken last week - some of the broccoli and cabbage will be ready to pick very soon.
18 These heads look so very healthy.
19 Here's a perfect head of broccoli. Broccoli is rich in vitamins A and K. It's one of the more popular Brassica or cruciferous vegetables. Harvest when the buds of the head are firm and tight, and before the heads flower.
20 This one is still quite small, but it won't take long for it to develop.
21 Harvest when heads reach a desired size and when they feel firm. This will take around 70-days for most green cabbage varieties. Most early varieties will produce one to three pound heads.
22 This head will be perfect in a few days. Cruciferous vegetables make beautiful additions to your garden as well as nutritious options at your table.
23 The Savoy cabbages are also growing quickly - look how much this has matured over the last week.
24 And here is a red cabbage after another week of growth. Red cabbage is a beautiful form of one of the oldest-known vegetables. It is excellent boiled or stir-fried, and adds a nice color in salads and other dishes.
25 In just a couple days, I'll be able to share photos of our first harvest. I hope your vegetable garden has been as productive as mine this season - enjoy the fruits of your labors.