These crops are cooler than you think!
What is a cool season crop?
Cool season varieties (often called “cole crops”) are best harvested in cooler temperatures of spring or fall (or winter for our mild climates gardeners). The temperature is important because heat can encourage bolting (prematurely flower), which causes bitterness in crops like lettuce and cilantro. Other crops, like broccoli or cabbage, may fail to produce a harvestable crown or head if temperatures are consistently warm, and they aren’t able to mature in cooler temperatures. For crops such as Brussels sprouts, some cabbages, and parsnips, this can mean sowing while it’s warm, so plants will grow in the heat but mature in the cool season. Botanical Interests offers many heat-tolerant and bolt-resistant cool season crops, making home gardening more successful!
Here at Alsip Home & Nursery, we are proud to carry Botanical Interests seeds, along with other popular seed producers such as: Seed Savers Exchange, Burpee, and more! We have just about every variety that you can think, and plenty that you’ve never heard of! Most of our seed producers now offer expanded varieties available as organic as well. We often have plants of many of these popular varieties available in our greenhouses as early as the end of March. They can withstand the cooler temperatures that often plague us all the way through April here in Chicagoland.
Fun Fact: Many plants, including cool season varieties, are able to convert starch into sugar, which lowers their freezing point. This “sweet” conversion not only protects plants from frost, but also can make for a literally sweeter harvest.
*Credit to Curtis Jones of Botanical Interests for a majority of this post content.