Know your brassicas
I had a discussion with someone yesterday that planted turnips this past week and It inspired this blog topic. Brassicas vary in maturities from 6 weeks to 20 weeks to reach maturity. Here is a run down on brassicas.
Turnips take 60 days to reach maturity and shouldn't be planted until early August. They give moderate nutrition and are a source of winter bulbs. If you plant purple top turnips in May or June, the bulbs will become woody and unpalatable and the forage will be mature and bitter.
Rutabaga take 90-100 days to reach maturity and produce bulbs that resemble turnips but are about 1.5 times larger than turnips. They produce more top growth than turnips are are sweeter and more palatable than turnips. They can be planted in June because they take longer to reach maturity.
Dominion Swede is a 150 days until maturity. The large yellow fleshy bulb provides a sweeter winter bulb source. It tends to have better aphid resistance than many brassicas. Because of the slow growth pattern, it is a spring and early summer option for those who want to get your food plots in early.
Dwarf essex rape. Most rapes sold on the market are dwarf essex. It is a short variety that matures in about 60 days. The advantage of rape is it's ability to tolerate shade and low pH areas. It gives one average nutrition and doesn't give one nearly the tonnage as other brassicas.
Bonar Rape. It is a slower growing rape that takes 90-100 days to reach maturity. It produces larger paddle type leaves and can be planted in June because of the longer maturity. It reminds me a lot of Winfred brassica.
Hunter brassica is a fast growing brassica that matures in 50-60 days. Plants are susceptible to drought and aphids, and are best suited to heavier soil conditions with periodic summer moisture and/or irrigation. It can be multi grazed and is of moderate nutrition.
Pasja/pacer brassica. They are fast growing and mature in 50-60 days and are more drought tolerant than hunter. They also have a better insect resistance and better disease resistance package.
Winfred brassica. It matures in 70-90 days. It is a cross between kale and turnips and it stays green down to 5-10 degrees. It gives one a lot of top growth and can grow as tall as 4' tall. It produces a lot of large paddle type leaves. It tends to be better in drought tolerance and disease resistance. It can be planted in June and if one clips it, it produces more leaves.
Kale. There is a number of varieties than range in maturity from 70 days up to 120 days. They can be planted earlier as a result of their slower growth pattern. The giant types take a lot longer to grow. Kales stay green down to 5-10 degrees. They tend to be more palatable than other brassicas and have better nutrition levels.
Appin turnip. They mature in 70-100 days. They don't produce that much of a bulb and are more of a heavy forage producer. They could be planted in June but early August is preferred.
Seven top turnip. It is a fast growing turnip that matures in 50 days. It is a forage turnip that is used mainly for the nutritious leaf growth. It is a cool season brassica that should only be planted in the fall.
Radish. Radishes mature in 40-50 days and produce a good amount of top growth as well as the large deep growing roots. They can be planted in the spring to help loosen the soil but they mainly are planted in august or september. They are semi cold tolerant and are more palatable than many of the traditional brassica varieties. There are numerous names for radish varieties but all daikons are of similiar genetics as they are all grown in the same area on the west coast and by a handful of seed producers.
Ethiopian cabbage. It is a fast growing, drought tolerant brassica that matures in 45-60 days. It can be planted as a warm season brassica source but then it will mature and lose quality. It should be planted as a companion crop.