Yard and Garden: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower Seedlings

AMES, Iowa ― Starting vegetables at home can be fun and offers several advantages. Many gardeners prefer to grow their own seedlings so they can select specific cultivars (varieties) and control seedling growth. By starting seedlings indoors, gardeners can enjoy vegetables earlier in the growing season. Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach answer questions about starting cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seedlings and selecting varieties. To have additional plant and garden questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

When should I sow my cabbage seeds indoors? 

Sow cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower seeds indoors four to five weeks before the intended outdoor planting date. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seedlings can be planted outdoors in early April in southern Iowa, mid-April in central portions of the state and late April in northern counties. Immediately after germination, place the seedlings under fluorescent lights in a cool (55 to 65 degree Fahrenheit) location. High light levels and cool temperatures will prevent the seedlings from getting tall and spindly. Harden (acclimate) the seedlings in a protected location for a few days prior to planting outdoors. Initially, place the seedlings in a shady location and gradually expose the plants to longer periods of sunlight.

What are some good cabbage varieties for the home garden? 

Suggested cabbage varieties for Iowa include ‘Blue Vantage’ (midseason, large blue-green head), ‘Cheers’ (late season, large blue-green head), ‘Head Start’ (early season, medium-size green head), ‘Red Acre’ (midseason, small red-purple head), ‘Ruby Perfection’ (late season, medium-size deep red head), ‘Savoy Ace’ (late season, savoy type) and ‘Stonehead’ (early season, small green head). 

What are some good broccoli varieties for Iowa?

Suggested broccoli varieties for Iowa include ‘Arcadia’ (late season, dome-shaped head), ‘Gypsy’ (midseason, smooth domed head), ‘Packman’ (early, uniform large head) and ‘Premium Crop’ (midseason, large center head). 

What are some good cauliflower varieties for home gardens in Iowa? 

Suggested cauliflower varieties for Iowa include ‘Fremont’ (early to midseason, white head), ‘Snow Crown’ (early season, white head) and ‘White Sails’ (midseason, white head). Popular novelty varieties include ‘Cheddar’ (orange head) and ‘Graffiti’ (deep purple head). 

When can I plant cabbage seedlings in the garden? 

Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seedlings can be planted outdoors in early April in southern Iowa, mid-April in central portions of the state and late April in northern counties. Harden (acclimate) the seedlings in a protected location for a few days prior to planting outdoors. Initially, place the seedlings in a shady location and gradually expose the plants to longer periods of sunlight. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower perform best in fertile, moist, well-drained soils.  When planting, space transplants 24 inches apart within the row. Rows should be 24 to 36 inches apart.  

-30-

Share |