The most popular members of this family of plants includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and cabbage. They all like cool weather, and can be planted four weeks before the last spring frost, then again in the fall.
Pests and Disease Control
Cabbage worms are the brassicas worst enemy. The safest way to control this pest is with Bacillus thruingiensis (Bt). This bacteria causes a fatal disease in the worms but does not hurt people, wildlife, or pets. Apply as soon as you begin to see the white cabbage moth, and repeat every 7 to 10 days thereafter. Bt is also effective against cabbage loopers, tomato hornworm, corn earworms, and many other common pests.
Brassicas are prone to disease. The best prevention is crop rotation. This process will help prevent yellows, blackleg, black rot, clubroot, and root knot. It's also helpful to examine plants that you buy for blemishes, yellow or wilted leaves, or stunting. If you discover diseased plants in your garden, pull them up and burn them or throw them away. Never place them in your compost pile.
Curling of the leaves, a condition known as whip tail, is an indication of a shortage of molybdenum ( a trace element.) Correct this deficiency by watering seedlings either before or after transplanting with a solution of 1.5 ounce of sodium molybdate in 5 quarts of water. The addition of lime to the soil improves the absorption of molybdate.
Downy mildew is also a condition to watch for in moist, cool areas. If this is a problem see that the plant is well aerated and that there is maximum sunlight.
Virginia Cooperative Extension: Cole Crops or Brassicas
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Potato-Broccoli Cheese Soup
Old Fashioned Coleslaw
Indian Cauliflower Soup
Cauliflower and Egg Casserole
Pickled Red Cabbage