10 Cruciferous Vegetables To Grow In Your Garden

Cruciferous vegetables, also known as crucifers, brassica vegetables or cole crops are an excellent addition to your vegetable garden.

Brassica vegetables are cool climate crops, best suited to areas with mild summers and cool spring and fall temperatures. 

Here are 10 popular cruciferous vegetables to grow in your garden, along with some handy growing tips.

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Growing Brassica vegetables

Growing cruciferous vegetables

Most vegetables in the cruciferous family require a long growing season.

They’re usually planted in spring and harvested in fall, which means at least 100 to 150 days from germination to harvest.

This long growing season makes brassica vegetables highly susceptible to garden pests including caterpillars, cabbage worms, aphids, borers and beetles.

You can protect your brassica crop from pests by covering the plants with netting.

Growing cabbage plants

Rotating cruciferous vegetables with plants from other families, like nightshades or alliums can also reduce their susceptibility to pests and diseases.

Cruciferous vegetables are heavy feeders so you’ll need to dig some compost or aged manure into the soil before planting.

They also benefit from the addition of lime to keep the soil slightly alkaline.

Purple cauliflower


1. Cabbage

There are many different varieties of cabbages including savoy (which is one of my favorites), Chinese cabbages and red cabbages.

Cabbages grow best in areas with cool temperatures between 45° to 75°F (7°C to 24°C) and the plants are frost tolerant.

It’s a good idea to plant a few cabbage seeds every couple of weeks so that they’re not all ready for harvesting at the same time.

Cabbage plants

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the most popular cruciferous vegetables and it can be lightly steamed or added to stir fries.

Broccoli plants usually produce one large head and then several small side shoots.

You can encourage the offshoot production by adding some fertilizer to the base of the plant after harvesting the central head. [1]

Broccoli plant in the garden

3. Cauliflower

Cauliflowers need at least six hours of sunlight each day and consistent cool temperatures when the heads are forming. 

They grow best in fertile, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.

White cauliflowers can get sunburnt easily in full sun so you can tie the outside leaves together to cover the plant and protect it from the sun. [2]

You can also grow purple or mixed color cauliflowers that are more tolerant of full sun.


4. Romanesco Cauliflower

Romanesco, also known as Roman cauliflower or broccoflower, is an attractive cruciferous vegetable with spiral patterns and it almost looks too good to eat.

Many people assume that Romanesco is a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli but botanically it’s different to both.

Romanesco requires similar growing conditions to cauliflower and it has a slightly nuttier and sweeter taste than broccoli and cauliflower.

The florets are tender and can be eaten raw in salads or lightly steamed.

RELATED: How To Grow Romanesco Cauliflower

Cruciferous vegetable garden

5. Kale

Kale has become a popular leafy cruciferous vegetable and it can be eaten raw if picked early or lightly steamed.

There are many different varieties of kale including purple, curly blue and lacinato.

Kale plants grow well in cool weather and they’re frost tolerant. Cold temperatures help the plant convert starches into sugars, so you get a much sweeter crop.

Kale has shallow roots, so it’s beneficial to mulch around the plants to keep the soil cool.

RELATED: How To Grow Kale Indoors

Kale plants

6. Bok Choy

Bok Choy, also known as Pak choy, is a popular Chinese cabbage used in many Asian dishes.

They’re sensitive to warm weather and grow best in partial shade.

Bok choy is one of the fastest growing cruciferous vegetables and usually takes between 45 to 60 days to mature. [3]

Brassica vegetables

7. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are hardy brassica vegetable plants that can tolerate thick frosts.

They grow on tall stems with edible buds that look like mini cabbages.

Many people dislike Brussels sprouts, but they’re actually quite nice if they’re not overcooked.

Roasted Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite side dishes.

You can even eat Brussels sprouts raw in salads if they’re harvested when they’re young.

Brussels sprouts

8. Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi looks like a root vegetable, but the bulb is actually the swollen stem of the plant.

Kohlrabi can be purple or green and both varieties taste similar to turnips.

The leaves are also edible and can be used in salads.


9. Arugula

Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, is a slightly bitter salad green from the cruciferous family.

It’s fast growing and usually ready to harvest in only 40 days.

Arugula can be planted in spring to harvest in summer or planted in late summer and harvested in fall.

In warm climates arugula can even be grown in winter.


10. Turnip

Turnips can be grown for the bulbs or the greens and they take about two months to mature.

They prefer soil that is slightly acidic and it’s best to sow the seeds directly in the garden rather than transplanting seedlings.

Turnip roots can be mashed or used in soups and the greens can be steamed or roasted.


So there is my list of 10 cruciferous vegetables to plant in your garden.

These vegetables are wonderful additions to cool climate gardens.


Have you tried growing brassica vegetables? Let me know in the comments below.

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Growing Brassica vegetables in the garden

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Alexandra

    This was very interesting. I always thought things like broccoli and cauliflower grew pretty quickly and in abundance. Didn’t know they took so long. Also, I love Brussels sprouts but for some reason when I roasted them the last couple of times with baby potatoes and broccoli they made me feel so sick. Kind of like if you cook beans without soaking them first.

  2. Scott DeNicola

    I love all of these vegetables except for turnips. I don’t know why it is about them. I’ve only discovered Brussel sprouts over the last 5 years and I love them on the BBQ cooked in foil with a little bit of bacon bits or pancetta on top. So good. I’ve only ever grown broccoli but will try the others.

  3. Thuy

    I’d love to grow my own broccoli and cauliflower someday! The netting is a good tip to keep away the pests. Now I’m equipped with basic knowledge for these veggies

  4. Subhashish Roy

    Reading your post reminds me of my father and his love for growing some of these vegetables in our kitchen garden when we were kids. And all the efforts that he used to put in to protect them from worms and pests.

  5. Carol

    We grew kale this year for the first time. It was so hardy and did great. I had no idea cauliflower could get sunburnt. So much great information in this post!

  6. Kristy Bullard

    I love growing my own vegetables! I will have to try and grow some of these next year. Thank you for all of your great suggestions!

  7. daphne takahashi

    Love eating kale and cauliflower! I didn’t know it took so long to grow them! That’s so interesting and it made me appreciate everyone who works growing this yummy vegetable.

  8. Lyanna Soria

    Those are interesting and wonderful cruciferous vegetables to plant in our garden. Is that a purple cauliflower? Because I totally didn’t know there was one and I wonder how it tastes like.

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Lyanna, yes cauliflowers come in a range of colors. I’ve seen orange and green ones as well!

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