Cabbage, Spinach, Beet and Celery

This is a cool weather collection and although it would love our companion group it will be too cold to plant most of it when this collection will be well on its way. The cabbage family includes Brussels sprouts and kale and this collection is good place for them too. And once the crop is done the container or garden area can be replanted with a summer collection but be sure to revitalize your soil with fish fertilizer or some other organic nutrients because the cabbage family members are heavy feeders. The same collection can be planted again in the fall.

 Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts have similar requirements. They can be started under lights up to 12 weeks before your last frost date, remembering that they will be planted outside four weeks before the same date. Each plant takes about five gallons of soil apiece so plan carefully. The seeds of beet and spinach can be sown as an inter-crop when you bed out the larger cabbage family plants. Although spinach and beet do not transplant well I bet they do just fine if started in bio sponges under lights 4-6 weeks before your last frost date and planted outside right after it. This might be worthwhile if you want all of these various plants to be ready to harvest at the same time allowing the space or container to be ready for a summer show of something else.

 Garden notes:

 Brussels sprouts require 4-6 weeks to reach transplant size. The transplants can be bedded out from 4/1 to 5/1 and again 8/1 to 9/1. The seed germinates in 4-10 days and the plants reach maturity in 70-130 days. In the garden Brussels sprouts should be planted 15 inches apart. Each plant requires 5-10 gallons of soil if container grown.

 Broccoli requires 5-7 weeks before it reaches transplant size. The transplants can be bedded out from 4/1 to 5/1 and again from 8/1 to 9/1. The seed germinates in 4-10 days and the plants reach maturity in 60-90 days. Broccoli takes a remarkable amount of space and should be planted 15 inches apart in the garden. Each plant requires 5-10 gallons of soil if container grown. When the main floret head is harvested you can allow smaller side shoot heads to develop. They are every bit as edible.

Cabbage requires 5-7 weeks to reach transplant size. The transplants can be bedded out from 4/1 to 5/1 and again from 8/1 to 9/1. The seed germinates in 4-10 days and the plants reach maturity in 65-110 days depending on the variety selected. Cabbage takes a remarkable amount of space and should be planted about 14 inches apart in the garden. It requires 3-5 gallons of soil per plant if container grown.

 Cauliflower requires 5-7 weeks before reaching transplant size. It can be bedded out from 4/1 to 5/1 and again from 8/1 to 9/1. The seed germinates in 5 to 10 days and the plants reach maturity in 75-85 days. In the garden cauliflower should be planted about 15 inches apart. Each plant requires about 2 gallons of soil if container grown.

 Leafy celery rather than stalk celery is easy to grow and a terrific companion to the cabbage family. And long after the cabbage family has succumbed to the heat leafy celery keeps on producing. It tends to be a perennial as well, and fits better into the beautiful herb venue rather than merely a vegetable. It should be started with your cabbage family seeds.

Chard and beets are cousins and are excellent substitutes for the cabbage family. Both can be sown directly in small amounts every two weeks about ½ inch deep from 3/15 to 6/15 and again from 8/1 to 9/1. Beets should be thinned to 2-3 inches apart. Chard on the other hand is a large plant, requiring 18 inches of space in the garden and is a candidate for starting under lights in bio sponges. Chard is a particularly beautiful plant. Its leaves can be cut to 2 inches above the crown and it will re-foliate again and again. I would include nasturtiums with this summer duo for the sheer beauty alone not to mention its superb beneficial qualities. Unfortunately the chard might succumb to the heat but could be replaced with mustard and some flowers.




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