by John Martin
Arugula: If the soil is fairly rich arugula will succeed both spring and fall in succession planting. Direct seed shallowly, eat the babies when thinning to two inches, then mow the larger leaves with scissors down to about an inch as many times as you can.
Kale: Fall plantings are always better for us but Kale will succeed in the spring if covered with remay. We like Red Russian best and plant the third week in July for a stand past the first frost. Direct seed, thin to four inches and eat the thinnings. Harvest mature leaves by snapping them where leaf stems emerge from the stalk. Sweeter after first frost and will stand a fairly hard frost. An easy one for seed saving.
Rutabaga: We grow rutabaga for late fall and winter shares. Sow in June when the soil is warm. Thin to 4-6 inches. These need all season to size up. A reliable root for hearty fall food.
Spring Radish: We like French Breakfast, Easter Egg, Champion, Plum Purple… Sow these as early as possible – the third week in March for us. We overseed parsnips with radish seed. Parsnips are notoriously slow and too weak to break heavy soils. The hardy radishes push out very rapidly even from cold soils and show the way for the parsnips. Seed both in the same line, cover with remay, then be careful not to weed out the parsnips when thinning radishes. If the radishes got seeded too thick, thin to about 1 inch. After that pull the ripe ones to give more room for those still sizing up. Leaving them thick at first forces an informal successioning. After the radishes are done in May, thin the parsnips to 4 inches and let them stand all season.
Turnip: Hakurei is the only really good tasting turnip we know. We also grow red ball for color. These will both yield ping pong ball size in the spring and softball size in the fall for us. Exclude flea beetles in spring plantings but it’s not necessary in fall. Seed thick, thin to one inch, then pull every other turnip in succession as they crowd until you get proper spacing for the biggest ones.
Fall Radish: We plant Daikon and Misato rose Radish only in the Fall – the third week of July here. Diakon is something of a measure of soil friability. In our soils it grows about a foot deep, hits a hard pan, then starts sending its shoulders upward. Misato rose is that large radish with green shoulders and a beautiful rose core surrounded by white flesh. Seed a half inch deep, thin to 1 per inch, then pull every other one for small radishes until proper spacing for the mature roots is achieved. Misato Rose will go softball size; daikon will go as big as my arm with half in the soil, half out. Be careful not to break daikon when pulling or digging. They will keep in the refrigerator for months.
Cabbage: At Stonebridge we start all the cabbages in the second week of May inside the greenhouse. Succession by variety works well for cabbages, in part because unlike broccoli and Cauliflower, cabbages will usually stand mature in the field for several weeks. We like, Melissa Savoy, Super Red 80, Ruby Red and are still trialing for an early green and a late green storage cabbage. We select for days to maturity so that we can give cabbage four or five times through the season. Germinate in the greenhouse just as described for broccoli and cabbage: 2”x2” soil blocks, germinate cold, keep moist with the mister. Also transplant at the same time and in the same way: third week in April; 18” in the row, 18” between rows; cover with remay until it gets too hot.
Brussels Sprouts: Grow Brussel Sprouts if you like fighting aphids. We’ve tried them twice here and both times after standing all season, those grey aphids just covered them. Maybe with broader spacing? Or attention with insecticidal soap? one could harvest nice sprouts. Ours developed nicely by late fall but were mostly ruined by the aphids.