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November 2012
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Brassica Oleracea is the species of plant that includes many common foods as cultivars.

Images of Brassica Oleracea at

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.

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