Cabbage Family

Kale-red—Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons Cabbage—Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons 

Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons

Brassicas: Cabbage Family

In Western Washington, some members of the Cabbage Family (aka Brassicas, formerly Cruciferae) can be grown throughout the year. Crops include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, arugula, mustard, rutabagas, turnips, radishes, collards, bok choi, and Brussels sprouts. These cool weather vegetables are among the first to be planted each year, as early as March for most transplants and April for direct seeding.

Learn what it means to plant “as soon as soil can be worked” and how to promote “workable” soil by covering the soil or planting in raised beds. Get tips on warming the soil to promote germination. Other topics covered include variety selection, what “open pollinated” means, cultural requirements, container growing, fertilizer needs, seed saving and the consequences of using hybrid varieties, major diseases and pests, as well as pest management techniques.

Below are resources to enhance your learning.

Growing Brassicas: Cabbage Family [2022 Presentation slides  5MB PDF]

  • Planning Calendar for Veg Crops — Table 5 from Home Vegetable Gardening in WashingtonWSU Extension Publication EM057E, a free download PDF, describes site-specific growing conditions, tools and equipment, vegetable planting, irrigation, soil management, integrated pest management, harvesting, vegetable storage and preservation.
  • Growing Radishes in Home Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS127E, a free 3-page download PDF, recommends radish types and cultivars, gives planting and maintenance advice, and offers strategies for pest management.
  • Summer-planted Crops — WSU Snohomish County Extension, Community Horticulture Fact Sheet #16, is a 2-page online publication offering strategies for succession planting after mid-season crops have been harvested, with a list of crops that can then be harvested in fall or later.
  • Caterpillar Pests of the Cabbage Family  — WSU Extension Publication FS018E, a free 4-page download PDF about a number of caterpillar pests that feed on members of the cabbage family, including imported cabbage worm, diamondback moth, alfalfa looper, cutworms, and armyworms. This publication has many color photographs to aid in identification, as well as strategies for control.
  • Cabbage Maggot in the Home Garden  — WSU Extension Publication FS010E, a free 2-page download PDF describing the cabbage maggot, its life history, and strategies for cultural and chemical control. This publication has several black and white photographs.

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