Cruciferous Vegetables and Winter Gardening

Dig in now - with cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower transplants - and a healthy harvest of these cancer-preventing vegetables will be ready to serve within two or three months.

It is not too late to plant broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, even in September in most places. These vegetables will survive most winters and then be ready to harvest in February through March.

Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are among vegetables known as cruciferous - so named for the cross-like shape of their flowers - and have been widely documented in research around the world as having properties that prevent cancer.

These vegetables should be planted in a sunny location, in rich, well-drained soil. All are hardy annuals that will tolerate evening temperatures in the 40-70 degrees range, so gardeners should watch weather reports and cover plants during occasional freezing spells which last 24 hours or longer.

One can easily plant these vegetables in existing flower beds around the home if a formal vegetable garden space is not possible.

Here are some other facts to consider when raising these crops at home:

    Broccoli - a 10-foot row yields about 10-20 pounds. For each person, raise about 8-10 pounds, depending on how much the members of the family like it. This plant requires 65-110 days from planting to maturity. Multiple harvests can be made from each plant.

    Cabbage - a 10-foot row produces 10-18 pounds. Plan to raise 15 pounds per person. Allow 65-100 days from transplanting to maturity.

    Cauliflower - a 10-foot row makes 15-20 pounds, and one should allot 8-10 pounds per person. From planting to maturity, count on 65-90 days.

Common Cruciferous Vegetables

land cress
ethiopian mustard
collard greens
Chinese broccoli (kai-lan)
brussels sprout
broccoli romanesco
wild broccoli
bok choy
Rapini (broccoli rabe)
flowering cabbage
chinese cabbage, napa cabbage
turnip root; greens
siberian kale
wrapped heart mustard cabbage
mustard seeds, brown; greens
mustard seeds, white
mustard seeds, black
garden cress
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