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Brassicas: Full of flavor and easy to grow

Brassicas family vegetables

Mark Twain wrote that “cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” A student of botany, he was onto something. Cauliflower and cabbage—and kale, kohlrabi, and more—are all the same species: Brassica oleracea. From one original variety, Brassica oleracea var. oleracea, or wild cabbage, which is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, many cultivars have been developed. Early farmers chose wild cabbage plants with attributes that they liked and propagated (or, per Twain’s analogy, “educated”) them over generations to create new vegetables. By selecting for flower clusters, they ended up with cauliflower. By selecting for lateral buds, they created brussels sprouts, and so on. Scientists have also mixed cultivars to make hybrids such as broccolini (a cross between broccoli and gai lan).

We have a number of resources for growing brassicas. Check out our Resources page.


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