Cole crops and planting cool-season vegetables
By Ray Ridlen
OSU Extension Educator, Ag/Hort
While "cold" and "cole" sound the same, they have different meanings. "Cold" refers to temperature; "cole" refers to any of various plants belonging to the Cruciferous or mustard family.
The mustard family includes cool-season crops such as Brussels sprout, cabbage, turnips, lettuce, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, broccoli, turnips and watercress. Cool weather root vegetables include radishes, beets and carrots. Cole crops prefer cool growing conditions. Choose varieties adapted to mature in 75 days or less, (80 days for cabbage). Do not choose late or full season varieties as Oklahoma's hot summer weather will decrease quality.
Cool-season vegetables require cool soil and air temperatures to germinate, grow and mature with best yield and quality. They can be grown as an early spring or fall crop.
Perennial cool season crops include asparagus and rhubarb. Once established these vegetables can produce for many years.
Some plants will do well if seeded directly into your planting bed. Others are more successful if started indoors and transplanted into the garden.
*Dates may vary according to climate, weather, and garden location. The soil temperature should be at least 40 degrees F at time of planting.
^Estimated days to first harvest will depend on the variety grown, the cultural procedure, the weather, and many other factors.
Consider inter-planting to increase the productivity of your garden. Place slow starting, late-maturing plants between or within the rows of early spring vegetables. For example, after May 15, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant can be planted within the rows of lettuce, spinach, radishes and peas.
Do not plant peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplant where any of these crops have grown in the previous three years. Likewise the cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage should not be planted where any other cole crops have been planted in the previous three years. This helps reduce the incidence of diseases and insects that may damage these crops. Sources for plants and seeds should be able to give you information about the specific variety of vegetable, its preferred growing season and environment.