How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Planting cole crops

Cole crops can be directly seeded or transplanted into the garden. It is ideal to plant on raised beds made by adding large amounts of soil amendments so that a bed is established above the previous level of soil. If seeding, plant more seeds than necessary so as to make up for any losses. Plant seeds in rows 3 feet apart depending on which crop you are planting. Push them into the soil 0.5 inch deep. Fill these holes by scratching the surface, firm the soil lightly, and cover with a thin mulch of organic material in order to hold soil moisture. Keep moist during the germination period. If growing cole crops during the summer months, protect seedlings from sunburn with 50% shade cloth or two layers of floating row cover until they have about 6 leaves. When the plants are about 3 inches high, thin to 2 or 3 of the strongest plants per hole.

For transplants, use young plants with 4 to 6 true leaves, wider than tall, stocky, succulent, and slightly hardened to outdoor conditions. Make sure the planting site is level. Spread and mix organic amendments and a good granular phosphorus fertilizer over the area. Mark where you want each plant and make the hole deep enough to bury the stem as far as the first leaf. Place the plant deep into the hole. Press the soil firmly around the plant and water thoroughly to remove any air pockets. If transplanting in the summer, shade the plants in the middle of the day for the first week or use floating row cover.

Planting tips

  Distance between plants (inches) Distance between rows (inches)
Broccoli 9–12 36
Brussels sprouts 24 36
Cabbage 24 36
Cauliflower 24 36


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   Contact webmaster.