Brassicas: Cabbages, Calabrese, Broccoli and Cauliflower

With dozens of brassica vegetable varieties to choose from, the right selection can mean the difference between success and disappointment. Use this guide to determine what cabbages, calabrese, broccoli and cauliflower 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 ©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

Cabbage ‘Pixie’

One of the earliest pointed cabbages, which can be picked young as spring greens or allowed to mature into a firm-hearted cabbage. A reliable crop that can be harvested in time to leave soil clear for spring sowings.

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

Cabbage ‘Marner Early Red’ (syn. ‘Marner Fruerot’)

This dense-hearted cabbage is one of the first reds to reach maturity. The outer leaves are tinged with gray; thehead is an intense red and has a peppery flavor best appreciated raw.

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

Cabbage ‘Derby Day’

A traditional, pale green ball head cabbage for early summer harvest. Its resistance to bolting has long made it popular with gardeners, and the mature cabbages can stand even summer heat.

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

Cabbage ‘Minicole’ F1

Ideal for small gardens, this white ballhead cabbage produces small, uniform heads on compact plants. Plant closely for a bumper harvest of fall cabbages, which will stand in the ground for up to three months.

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

Cabbage ‘Hispi’ F1

Another favorite, this pointed cabbage reliably produces compact, tasty, dark green heads. The cabbages mature rapidly, and successional sowings provide a harvest from late spring into fall.

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

Cabbage ‘Red Jewel’ F1

The claret-colored leaves dusted with silver make this one of the best cabbages for ornamental plantings. The tight round heads also taste delicious and will stand in the ground well or store indoors.

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

Cabbage ‘January King 3’

This traditional winter cabbage has good frost resistance and appetizing sweet crunchy leaves. The frilly-edged leaves are tinged with pink and also look beautiful in the winter garden.

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

Cabbage ‘Tundra’ F1

A cross between a savoy and a white cabbage, this extremely hardy variety produces solid round heads of tasty crisp leaves. The long cropping season makes this a really useful addition to the vegetable patch.

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

Cabbage ‘Savoy Siberia’ F1

A truly tough vegetable, this savoy withstands hard winters, so is ideal for exposed or cold gardens. The blue-green, blistered leaves taste sweet, and the cabbages stand well in the ground for long periods.

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

Calabrese ‘Corvet’ F1

A reliable variety of fall vegetable, producing robust plants and a bumper crop of dense, green heads. Cut the central head while its flowers are still tightly closed for a second harvest of smaller shoots a few weeks later.

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

Broccoli ‘Bordeaux’

This purple sprouting variety is very useful for those who can’t wait until spring for broccoli. It is not winter-hardy and does not require the usual exposure to cold to produce its tasty spears.

Sow: Late winter to mid-spring
Harvest: Midsummer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, full sun

Broccoli ‘White Star’

Creamy white rather than purple flowers make the spears of this spring variety reminiscent of cauliflower; many consider the taste similar, too. Reliably high yields produced over a long period make it a popular choice.

Sow: Mid- to late spring
Harvest: Early to mid-spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Broccoli ‘Claret’ F1

A large, vigorous plant that may need staking in windy gardens, this variety produces huge yields of chunky, succulent spears in spring. The purple flowerheads are tightly packed and uniform, and taste delicious.

Sow: Mid- to late spring
Harvest: Early to mid-spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Broccoli ‘Late Purple Sprouting’

To extend your broccoli crop into latespring, try this slightly later-flowering variety. It is slow to go to seed, and the delicious purple-budded spears can be cut over a long period.

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

Cauliflower ‘Mayflower’ F1

High-quality, dense white curds are consistently produced by this vigorous early summer variety. Unlike many others, it does not require high nitrogen levels and is harvested early enough to avoid midsummer droughts.

Sow: Mid- to late winter and mid-fall
Harvest: Late spring to midsummer
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Cauliflower ‘Romanesco’

If you want something different, try this strange summer/fall variety, with pyramid-shaped heads in a vibrant shade of acid green. Grow over a long season for large heads or sow successionally for frequent small crops.

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

Cauliflower ‘Walcheran Winter Armado April’

An extremely hardy winter variety that tolerates heavy frosts and produces large, solid, pure white heads. It ties up a bed for 12 months, so may not be suitable for very small gardens.

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

Cauliflower ‘Violet Queen’ F1

The vivid purple curds formed by this variety will brighten up any vegetable patch, although they turn green when cooked. Plenty of nitrogen and water are required to sustain strong growth.

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