When to Plant Brassicas
Plant turnips, rape, and/or radishes 60-90 days before your first frost, or mid to late July in the Midwest. Plant kale and swedes 150-200 days before your first frost or in late April here in the Midwest. Be aware that some kales will have a much shorter growing season, thus a much later planting date.
How to Plant Brassicas
Conventional planters, no-till drills, or broadcasting seed can all work. Seed should be planted at 1/8 – 1/4 inch deep. Till the soil, firm the seed bed with a cultipacker or by driving an ATV over the plot, broadcast (or drill seed) and repack.
Which Brassica to Plant
Seed 5#s per acre of a turnip/rape combination in mid to late July. One can also add 5#s of radishes to that 5#s of turnip/rape, making 10#s total of seed… but never seed more than 5#s of turnip/rape per acre. The different growing characteristics of turnip/rape versus radishes allow one to add the extra radish seed without having to lower the amount of the turnip/rape seed. When planting swedes and/or kale seed at 5#’s per acre (total) as well.
Where to Plant Brassicas
Brassicas do not like sandy dry soil, they prefer moist loamy soils for optimum growth. Radishes don’t like wet spots. Fields with a history of being wet are not a good choice to plant radishes. One rule of thumb is if alfalfa can’t grow, neither will radishes.
It is always best to take a soil sample and turn it in to be analyzed for what your specific fertilizer needs are but as a general rule of thumb till in 60-90#’s of actual nitrogen (150-200#’s of urea per acre) and 200-400#’s of 6-24-24 at planting.
Where to Purchase Brassica Seed
There are many examples of seed suppliers, many of whom offer seed by the pound allowing plotters to purchase only what they need but keep in mind there may be a small handling charge or increased price when purchasing “two pounds” for instance. Always check with your local co-op to save on shipping charges as well.