Spring isn’t the only time to plant vegetables. As the temperatures drop, it’s time to plant your cole crops!

A cole crop is any vegetable in the mustard family including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, collards, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and of course, mustard. The term “cole” comes from the Latin word for stem: caulis.

Since “cole” sounds like “cold,” it’s easy to remember when conditions are perfect for planting. These vegetables are not fans of the heat and prefer to be first planted when temperatures at night are between 60 degrees and 65 degrees.

If temperatures drop below that, no need to worry. A light frost won’t harm them; it can actually improve their flavor.

These annuals can be planted in warmer temperatures, but they will need to be watered every day in the morning to make sure their soil stays evenly and consistently moist. But beware of any periods of low temperatures shortly followed by warmer temperatures. This can cause them to bolt, or begin flowering. Once they flower, their flavor turns bitter. At that point, they are better suited as ornamental plants in your garden beds or containers.

Each year, it’s important to practice crop rotation with any vegetable plants you practice throughout the year. Don’t plant the vegetable in the same spot you planted it the previous year. Some plant diseases can live in the soil for a long time, and some of those diseases are even specific to certain plants.

By rotating where you plant your vegetables for at least three growing seasons, you’ll give those diseases time to die off and avoid having your plants infected year after year.

Garden centers are beginning to stock cole crops, including here at Martin’s Home & Garden. Whether you’re planting your vegetables for the first time or you’re a seasoned veteran, we’ll be here to answer any questions that you have.

Jennifer Brown is the Marketing Coordinator for Martin’s Home & Garden. The family-owned full-service garden center has proudly served the Rutherford County community since 1982. Martin’s Home & Garden is located at 1020 NW Broad St. and can be reached by phone at (615) 867-7121.

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