by Karen Weiland, Advanced Master Garderner
Have you ever listened to a garden speaker and heard he or she talk about cole crops…or was that cold crops? The two words sound so much alike. Did you leave wondering what the difference was? Well, to clear up the confusion, there are both.
Cold crops are vegetables that thrive in cold or cool weather. Cold crops can be planted before the threat of frost has passed and can survive well into the colder months of fall. These crops are often further divided into hardy and semi-hardy categories, depending on their ability to withstand cold temperatures.
Cole crops is a general term used to describe a number of plants belonging to the mustard (Brassica) family. Those plants include broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale and collards. These plants grow best in cooler weather, generally when daytime temperatures are below 80 F and night time temperatures are below 60 F. Most cole plants can tolerate cold temperatures, much lower temperatures than other garden plants and can even survive light frosts.
Cole crops prefer to be sited in an area that receives full sun and has well drained soil. Crop rotation is very important to reduce disease problems. Cole crops should only be planted in the same area once every four years.
As always, Happy Gardening!
More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Estension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.
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