Brassicas: Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Kohlrabi and Asian Greens

With dozens of brassica vegetable varieties to choose from, the right selection means the difference between success and disappointment. Use this guide to determine what Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi and Asian greens will suit you best.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Brussels Sprouts ‘Red Delicious’

This magnificent variety is a striking shade of red-tinged-purple from its crowning leaves to the base of its stem. Unlike many other red varieties, the sprouts retain their color after cooking and have a fine flavor.

Sow: Early to mid-spring
Harvest: Early winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Brussels Sprouts ‘Trafalgar’ F1

If your aim is sweet sprouts for Christmas, then this variety will not disappoint. Dense crops of firm, uniformly-sized sprouts grow on tall, sturdy plants and can be harvested throughout the winter.

Sow: Early to mid-spring
Harvest: Late fall to midwinter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Brussels Sprouts ‘Bosworth’ F1

Dark green, dense, sweet sprouts are produced in abundance by this tough hybrid variety, which will stand well through cold winter weather. Some tolerance to downy mildew helps ensure a healthy crop.

Sow: Early to mid-spring
Harvest: Late fall to early winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Kale ‘Redbor’ F1

All kales are useful hardy winter crops, but the tall leaves of this variety resemble large clumps of burgundy, curly-leaved parsley and add some welcome color to dull days. Great steamed or stir-fried.

Sow: Early to late spring
Harvest: Early fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Kale ‘Starbor’ F1

More compact than most kales, this variety is well suited to the small or windswept garden. The tightly curled green leaves stand up well to winter cold. Try successional sowings for a year-round crop of tasty baby leaves.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Early fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade:Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Kale ‘Nero di Toscana’

Also known as Black Tuscany or Cavolo Nero, this is the favored kale in Italian kitchens. Its upright leaves are almost black and blistered like those of savoy cabbages. Use mature leaves in soups and stews, baby ones in salads.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Early fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Kohlrabi ‘Olivia’ F1

Harvest the swollen stem that sits just above soil level when it is about the size of a tennis ball, and enjoy the crisp, white flesh grated raw in salads or lightly steamed. Reliable, with little woodiness, this variety is slow to bolt.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Late spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Kohlrabi ‘Purple Danube’ F1

The vibrant purple skin and stems of this variety are striking in the garden, and its sweet nutty flavor is one of the best. Purple varieties take longer to mature than white, so this makes a good late summer and fall crop.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Bok choy ‘Joi Choi’

Summer stir-fries will be fresher and tastier with the addition of these succulent, crispy, home-grown leaves. This variety has attractive bright white stems that carry deep green, rounded leaves, and it is easy to grow.

Sow: Mid-spring to early fall
Harvest: Early summer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Mizuna

Often found in supermarket salad mixes, these jagged-edged, slightly mustard-flavored leaves are simple to cultivate over summer. Harvest baby leaves for salads or allow plants to mature and use leaves for stir-frying.

Sow: Early spring to early fall
Harvest: Late spring to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Mibuna

Similar in flavor to mizuna, but with a stronger peppery tang and long, smooth-edged foliage. Like mizuna, this is an ideal cut-and-come-again crop that can be sown successionally from spring to fall.

Sow: Early spring to early fall
Harvest: Late spring to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Mustard ‘Red Giant’

Another beautiful, strongly flavored leaf, this ruby-tinged mustard is best harvested while the leaves are small, otherwise the peppery flavor can be overpowering. Hardy enough to stand over winter from an fall sowing.

Sow: Early spring to early fall
Harvest: Late spring to midwinter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

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