Brussel Sprouts

  • Why you should grow it
    • Brussel sprouts are an interesting plant to grow
      • The sprouts grow along the stalk
    • They do best after a little frost, it makes the sprouts sweeter
    • Plant 1-2 plants per person

 

  • How to start seeds
      • Space or thin seedlings to 24-30 inches apart, each plant will get fairly large
      • Sow seeds about 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep
      • If starting indoors, leggy seedlings can be planted up to their first leaves
      • Firm the soil around the transplant seedlings so they will root well
      • Sow directly 10-12 weeks before the first frost so that they will be ready about 2 weeks after the first frost

     

     

 

  • Tips for growth
      • Although some frost is good, you want to protect the plants from longer and more frequent frosts
      • They grow well in deep containers, you can keep near a wall and more easily protect from frost
      • Stake the plants as they will be top-heavy
      • Weed gently as Brussel sprouts are shallow-rooted
      • A major issue is cutworms that live in the soil and eat seedlings and roots
        • Place a cardboard or plastic collar around the base of the plant

     

    • Keep the soil around Brussels sprouts evenly moist; water the soil at the base of the plant
    • Mulch around plants during the hot summer days to slow soil moisture evaporation and to keep the soil cool, give shade if the weather gets too warm
    • Reduce watering as Brussels sprouts approach maturity, they won’t be growing as much
    • Plant Brussels sprouts with beets, celery, herbs, onions, potatoes; avoid pole beans, strawberries, tomatoes
    • Aphids can be knocked off of plants with a strong blast of water

 

 

  • Harvesting
    • After a light frost, pick from the bottom up
    • Sprouts should be about 1″ in diameter, they will be the most flavourful
    • Once harvested, sprouts will last about 1-2 months
    • The leaves can be eaten or cooked like cabbage
    • If you want to harvest the whole plant at once
      • Pinch the top set of leaves about 1 month before you plant to harvest – two weeks before the first frost
      • This will force the growth to be focused on the already established sprouts and not the top

 

  • Saving Seeds
    • Brussel sprouts will go to seed the following year, they are biennial
    • Leave the plant over winter and flowers will begin the following spring
    • Ensure no other cabbage family is also flowering at the same time – they can easily cross
    • Seed pods will begin to form, allow them to dry on the plant
    • Cut the pods off, open and dry seeds fully inside
    • Once fully dried, label and store in a cool, dark, dry place