All about the Brassicas

All about the Brassicas

Brassicaceae is an important family among the flowering plants. The members of this family are commonly called the Brassicas, the Mustards, Crucifers or the Cabbage family.

Most of the plants in this family have a characteristic tangy, or pungent, sharp flavor and smell, produced by a family of substances known as glucosinolates which is a sulphur containing compound. These are secondary metabolites which are known to produce antibiotic like effect. Studies have also shown that it can lower chances of cancer.

Some of the economically important members of this family are Arugula, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Bok choy, Kale, Turnip, Kohlrabi, Horse radish, Rocket, Watercress, Wasabi, Mustard, Rapeseed, Knol khol.

Here are some of the vegetables you can grow easily in your home garden and use the veggies in everyday meals :

  • Cabbage – Cabbage prefers well draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It prefers a soil with pH of 6.5-7.5 For optimum growth and good results of vegetables it requires full sunlight of 6-8 hours per day. It requires water regularly and likes moist soil.
  • Cauliflower – Cauliflower likes regular watering. Soil has to be rich and fertile. Mulching will help cauliflower plants to grow better.
  • Broccoli – It is a cool season vegetable which requires soil to be fertile, moist and which drains well. For perfect broccoli heads it requires 5-7 hours of sunlight. Broccoli can be harvested in about 50-60 days after planting.
  • Radish – Radish can be easily grown from seeds. It is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It requires rich organic soil which is well draining. Mulching will help the plants grow well.
  • Turnip – Turnips like to be watered well and regularly as well. The soil needs to be loose, well-draining and fertile. The young tender leaves are edible as well.

Fertilizing these plants are important. Once in fifteen days a handful of manure or kitchen compost can be mixed in with the soil. Many of these plants might have pest attacks. But you can ward them off with regular care and attention. Neem oil and Garlic oil can be sprayed to keep these pests away. Growing plants organically without the use of chemicals and pesticides is crucial for good health of everyone and everything around us including humans, animals and the environment.

Many members of this family and used as food crops like Cabbage, Cauliflower. Oil is produced from plants like Rapeseed and Mustard. Leaves of Arugula, Rocket and Watercress are consumed in salads. Wasabi and mustard are important condiments.

Brassica vegetables provide high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese and soluble fibre. They also contain glucosinolates which help prevent cancers of the lungs and alimentary tract. They are important for their nutritional value, anti-inflammatory activity, anticancer and antioxidant properties.

So including these veggies in an adequate amount is important for our health. Growing these on our own can help eliminate chemicals and pesticides which might be used when they are grown elsewhere. Growing these veggies can be easy and super fun. It can be a family activity and everyone can eat healthy organic vegetables which are super nutritious for us.

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