Greens and Brassicas

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Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
Make your Field of “Dreams” , your field of "Greens"

The term greens refer mostly to plants in the brassica family. These are cooler season crops that produce the green leafy parts of plants that we eat. Most people think of turnips, collards, mustards, kale or spinach when they think of greens. However, the leaves of many plants offer great flavor and can be prepared in many ways as “greens” . Radish, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, beets, Brussel sprouts, kohlrabi , just to name a few, also have ‘tops’ or leaves which have great flavor and high nutritional value. Why grow a crop and throw ½ of it away.

Growing “Greens”

All plants require nitrogen for growth. Plants that are in the greens family demand higher nitrogen and phosphorus. A soil ph 5.5 - 6.8 is ideal for vigorous growth of greens. In the south this is not too much of a problem. Greens enjoy rich sandy well drained soil. In areas of clay or heavy soils you may need to add sand and organic matter for drainage. The seeds of these ( brassica) cool season plants can germinate in soil temps as low as 35F but will do so faster in warmer temps. Some of these plants will do well in light freezes and even tolerate heavy frost very well. However deep freezing temp will kill the plants. Zones 8-10 can grow Turnips, collards, mustards, radish and kohlrabi almost year round. These plants seem to tolerate the higher temperatures well and will often produce for years , the exception being turnips and kohlrabi where the actual bulb of the plant is desired. Turnips, collard and mustards can have the leaves trimmed from the plant and continue to produce new leaves for harvest indefinitely for as much as 2 years weather permitting.

Spinach, Broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, beets, brussel sprouts & cabbage are true cool season plants. They prefer the milder temperatures. Once day time highs reach above about 76F they tend to stop producing as well. Long, hot days and dry weather quickly take their toll on the plants. In southern areas you can extend that growing season by planting in shaded areas of the garden where full sun is at a minimum. I have found in Florida that I can get a couple extra weeks in of growing and harvest by planting in the shade.
As with any type of green the above plants can have the leaves harvested from the plant without killing the entire plant. Trimming the leaves of root crops such as Beets, turnips, and rutabagas will help bulb growth. Once leaves are removed the “plant” then begins to focus root production.
When removing leaves from broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi, be sure to only remove the large outside leaves below the vegetable. The leaves touching or covering the flower are protection from sun, frost and freeze. I always remove the leaves below the actual vegetable.

The “greens” can be eaten raw, stir fried, stewed or boiled. All green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K and provide a great health benefits to the body.
Also, do not over look the flowers of greens as tasty food. If you miss harvesting the vegetable before flowering. the flowers can be eaten. They are often very sweet and a colorful add to salads.
I personally use the green tops to most all my veggies including carrots.

Other greens that we think of as salad greens, such as arugula, chicory, Chinese cabbage, escarole, and a wide variety of lettuces also grow in the same conditions as the above mentioned “greens”.
 

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Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Took this picture this past week early in the morning. It was about 46 F , our lowest temp since last Feb.
From very far left to right ; Rutabagas , radish, mustards, turnips. This field produces far more than several families can use, so the surplus I take to a local soup kitchen/food bank. You would think those greens were $100 dollar bills when they see them.
 

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Jade

New Member
#6
I am very hopeful that I will have a much more productive garden in 2012. I would love to grow lots of this stuff again. This year was a bit off for me.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
I never tried that. I have quit trying to grow root crops because of the moles. They get a large portion of the crop and destroy even more of it. I have been told that moles are carnivores and do not eat plants, but I have found it to be otherwise.
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#12
They are a little strong so a little goes a long way. But I have this thing about trying to use everything I can from the garden. I actually have been tasting "weeds" as of late. I had this beautiful crop of "??" in the middle of the garden, it was so pretty I just had to see if it had any flavor value. I am sitting in the garden munching this weed on Sat . morning,and Tim comes up and says "What are you eating? I just made your breakfast." Well ....have you ever tried telling someone you just wanted to see what a weed tasted like? Sadly , there was very little flavor, it looked kind of like oregano, I actually thought it might be , but it was way fuzzy and very bland. So I yanked it!
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14
LOL! Randy..... poor weed, yanked in it's prime.
I sure am glad I don't have neighbors. You know that's how rumors start about the crazy lady down the street. You get seen tasting one weed and you have lost your mind!
 
#17
I grew a green variety of Cauliflower this season (still growing), and it is loving our temperature, hasn't gone below 27 I'd say (well from what I recall). These green variety I bought is doing amazing, I would say it's 2x or 2.5x the size of store bought cauliflower. I got it from some of the lowes burpee seed's I'd say. Also, not to hijack the thread but hehe... Anyone think it's harvesting time? I wanna allow it to get as big as it can, but not let it bolt on me.

I shrunk the picture quite a bit.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Staff member
#20
If that is the only one you have I would let it go a little longer, but if you have several that's another matter. Then you could have one to eat that is young and tender and keep watching the others.
 


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