Brassica Oleracea is the species of plant that includes many common foods as cultivars.
Overview of Brassica Oleracea
• These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, savoy, and Chinese kale.
• In its uncultivated form it is known as wild cabbage.
• It is native to coastal southern and western Europe.
• It is a tall biennial plant.
• The leaves are fleshier and thicker than those of other species of Brassica, adaptations to store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment.
• In its second year, the stored nutrients are used to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 meters (3–7 ft) tall bearing numerous yellow flowers.
• B. oleracea is used because of its large food reserves, which are stored over the winter in its leaves.
• It is rich in essential nutrients including vitamin C.
• It was a well-established garden vegetable.
The cultivars of B. oleracea are grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups:
• Brassica oleracea Acephala Group – kale and collard greens
• Brassica oleracea Alboglabra Group – Chinese broccoli
• Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group – cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli and broccoflower
• Brassica oleracea Capitata Group – cabbage
• Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group – brussels sprouts
• Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group – kohlrabi
• Brassica oleracea Italica Group – broccoli
Growing/Caring conditions of Brassica Oleracea
• Growing these plants in a home garden enables you to provide fresh veggies throughout the growing season.
• These plants thrive best in full sunlight.
• They have long growing seasons that start in early spring.
• Start planting as soon as the final frost of the year has passed.
– Till the soil in an area of your garden that receives at least six hours of full sunlight daily.
– Till to a depth of 10 inches.
• Brassicas can withstand one or two unexpected freezes.
• Mix in a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or peat moss as you till to increase fertility and drainage in the soil.
• This helps the heavily feeding Brassicas and prevents rot and fungal growth from standing water.
• Sow your Brassica seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in the soil.
• Space 18 inches apart in rows at least 32 inches apart.
• Brassica seeds germinate within 10 days.
• Keep the soil around your Brassica plants thoroughly moist.
• Water the vegetables any time the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.
• Feed the plants a balanced vegetable fertilizer that contains boron, calcium and magnesium about two weeks after germination.
• This extra boost of nutrition helps the plants fruit.
• Inspect your plants every day.
• If you find worms or other insects on your vegetables, simply pick them off with tweezers.
• These pests only harm vegetables if allowed to stay on there for too long.
• Harvest the Brassicas when the vegetables are firm to the touch.
• Brassicas tend to attract worms and moths.
• Consider using row covers during the first few weeks after planting to prevent these insects from invading.