It’s one of my pet peeves. Many times people will come into the garden center and say that they are going to plant their cole crops, then ask for peas. While I understand that some people use the terms interchangeably, it isn’t exactly correct. And since it’s the time of the year to plant both, here’s the definition in a nutshell.
The term “cole” crops are technically those plants that belong to the Cruciferae or mustard family. This includes plants such as kale, cauliflower, collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips, and others. All of these vegetables can trace their origins back to a common ancestry of wild cabbage. Many of these vegetables are super powerhouses of nutrition. In fact, Brussels sprouts, collards, and kale contain more protein than milk does.
The term “cold” in reference to plants, refer to temperature and those plants that can withstand cold nighttime and cool daytime temperatures. In fact, they not only tolerate them, but some plants thrive in them. Plants such as lettuce, radishes, peas, carrots, potatoes, and onions are cold crops. There are many more cold crops than cole crops. And these vegetables are not only good to plant in the spring, but will return an abundant crop in the cooler fall temperatures as well.
Depending on the weather, the amount of sunshine, and the temperatures, some of the cold and cole crops that are planted now, could be harvested as early as late-April to early May. What bettter way to truly catch spring fever than with vegetables fresh from the garden?