How to Care for Brassicas

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Brassicas are a large genus of plants in the mustard family. The group includes vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Bok Choy, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, various mustards, turnips and rutabagas. The vegetables in this group are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Brassicas also encompass visually pleasing varieties, such as ornamental cabbage that provide winter beauty in an otherwise stark landscape. Caring for members of this family of plants, however, takes patience and vigilance.

Care for Brassicas

Step 1

Keep the soil moist around new seedlings until they are established. Water established plants at least once a week; brassicas need plenty of water to produce a good harvest.

Step 2

Use a multi-purpose insecticide at the first sign of insects such as aphids, cabbage maggots and harlequin bugs. You can use insecticidal soap for the aphids; it is safer and less toxic than commercial pesticides. Spray plants with a microbial insecticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis to kill caterpillars such as cabbage looper, cabbage webworm, cross-striped cabbageworm, diamondback moth and imported cabbageworm.

Step 3

Put netting over brassicas to protect them from birds. You can also put blank or used CDs on string hanging from garden stakes to keep birds at bay.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear gloves when using insecticides to prevent them from getting on your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Multi-purpose insecticide
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Microbial insecticide
  • Netting
  • Blank or used CDs
  • String
  • Garden stakes


  • Information about brassicas
  • University of Clemson, "Cabbage, Broccoli & Other Cole Crop Insect Pests"
  • BBC article, "Growing cabbages and brassicas"

Who Can Help

  • Forbes Magazine, "The Healthiest Foods on Earth"
  • Information about growing individual types of brassicas
  • Resource The UK Independent article on growing brassicas
Keywords: mustard family brassicas, blank cds, insecticidal soap

About this Author

Ellie Kuykendall has been writing and editing professionally since 1997. Her travel and insurance articles have appeared in national magazines. She's contributed to four books and is currently writing her own book. She received a bachelor's degree from University of San Francisco.

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