The Brassica family includes crops like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi, among others. These crops are cold-hardy, which makes them ideal for Fall gardens and in many cases, overwintering. The term ‘Fall Brassicas’ refers to crops that are planted anywhere between mid/late summer and early fall and are then harvested throughout the Fall.
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In this episode, we discuss:
Brassica crop lifespans
Planting requirements for Fall
Cold hardiness considerations
There are 3 categories of Fall Brassicas: half-season crops that are transplanted, short-season crops that are transplanted, and short-season crops that are direct seeded.
With all Fall brassicas, the goal is to get your plants in the ground with enough time for them to mature before shorter days and cooler weather set in.
Half-season Fall brassicas include broccoli, kale, cabbage, and collards. These crops are generally planted mid-July through mid-August for a Fall harvest.
Short season crops can take only 4-6 weeks to reach maturity, so you can plant these crops much later into the summer and in some cases in the Fall. Short season brassicas that should be transplanted include Kohlrabi, Tatsoi, and bok choi types.
Other short season brassicas can be direct-seeded into the garden, including turnips, mustard greens, and mizuna. These crops can be planted later in the season than the half-season brassicas, and take even less foresight because they are happy when direct-seeded right into your garden beds.
Many Fall brassicas will hold in the garden for weeks or months. Because the weather is cooler and the sun is waning, there is less pressure to harvest before plants bolt.
Some crops, like broccoli, kale, and Tatsoi, can overwinter in the garden. If you live in an area that has winter regular temperatures below 30 degrees F, you can fashion simple hoops over your beds and cover them with remay to help protect the crops from harder frosts. (Both of our books Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard and High-Yield Vegetable Gardening include instructions and photos on how to do this!)
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