The Brassica family includes my favorites vegetables: broccoli, cabbage and, cauliflower.
These vegetables are easy to grow in Houston, buy the seedling when they are about 3″ high. Check that they don’t have bugs, is vivid color and roots do NOT go out at the bottom. If you see roots going out from the pot, this tells you it was planted in that small space for a too long time and does not have the strength of a young plant.
You can buy good quality seedling (small plants) at Buchanan’s, Southwest Fertilizer, Wabash and big stores.
Broccoli, Cabbage and, Cauliflower can be grown in large pots or directly into the ground already prepared. Prepare the soil with a slow-release fertilizer (1/2 cup of MicroLife on each hole, mix well before planting).
These plants are hardy. Plants should be spaced two feet from one another. In Houston are winter plants. The first crop window for planting is in September-October and then in January-February. Both are productive seasons.
They require sun for at least 8 hours a day, deep watering when you feel the soil dry, after burying your index finger.
Harvest when the right size is reached and before it blooms! Especially important with the cauliflower and broccoli. If you start seeing yellow tip on your broccoli or the cauliflower head gets lose harvest right away. The cabbage is ready when it feels hard and compact to the touch. For cabbage and cauliflower cut at the base of the plant and removed the outer leaves.
The Broccoli plant is very generous, and after you cut the central “flower” little broccolis continue to grow, they are smaller but equally rich and nutritious. Do not let it blossom. And if it does, do NOT bring the flower into the house because the smell is terrible (do not ask how I know that)
The purple cauliflowers taste the same as whites; they are just prettier and easier to grow the same with the yellow and romanesco.
In preparation for a cold front, you can tie the leaves of the cauliflower around the head with an elastic band. Broccoli and cabbage should be cover with cloth or trash cans.
Brussel sprouts are usually grown with these vegetables, but they are challenging on our climate in Houston. I don’t recommend this crop unless you are doing it as a demonstration plant at a school garden for example.
Recommended varieties (How to Grow Broccoli Cabbage and Cauliflower)
- Green Comet
- Early flat Dutch
- Early round Dutch
- Early Jersey Wakefield
- Red: Ruby Perfection
- White: Snow Crown
- Purple: Grafitti
- Yellow: Cheddar
- Green: Vitaverde
- Fractal: Romanesco, Veronica.
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