As long as you plant them at the right time, keep them cool and well watered during the heat of summer, and protect them from pests, Brussels sprouts are a rewarding vegetable crop to grow—an accomplishment!Brussels sprouts form as buds along the main stem of the plant, just above each leaf axil. .
How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
Common Name Brussels sprouts Botanical Name Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera group) Family Brassicaceae Plant Type Annual vegetable Size 30 in.wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Loamy Soil pH Neutral (6.5 to 7) Bloom Time Non-flowering Flower Color Non-flowering Hardiness Zones 2 to 9 Native Area Mediterranean.Brussels sprouts require a long growing season of 80 days or more, and they improve in flavor after being subjected to a light frost.In colder climates, you can start brussels sprouts seeds indoors around early May, and transplant the seedlings to the garden in mid-June, or about four months before the first fall frost.Brussels sprouts like a slightly acidic to neutral soil that is fertile, well-drained and moist, with plenty of organic matter.A good amount of organic matter will help maintain the moisture they need for their intense growth.They'll tolerate a couple of days below freezing, and even improve their flavor with a bit of light frost.'Bubbles' F1 (85 to 90 days to maturity): This variety tolerates heat and drought, and grows 2-inch sprouts that are resistant to powdery mildew and rust.F1 (85 to 90 days to maturity): This variety tolerates heat and drought, and grows 2-inch sprouts that are resistant to powdery mildew and rust.'Long Island Improved' OP (90 days): This variety is another small but high-yield plant that stands up to wind and tolerates freezing.OP (90 days): This variety is another small but high-yield plant that stands up to wind and tolerates freezing.F1 (85 days): ''Royal Marvel' is an early and productive plant that is resistant to bottom rot and tip burn.Cutting the tops is a good way to speed up the development of the remaining sprouts, at the end of the season.Bare root plants stored in a cool cellar will give you an additional two to three weeks of harvest.If you live in an area with cold winters, start your seeds indoors about two to three weeks before the last spring frost.If you live in a region with warm winters—where temperatures are rarely below freezing—start seeds outdoors in the late summer for a mid- to late-winter harvest. .
The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera cultivar group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds.During the 16th century, they enjoyed a popularity in the southern Netherlands that eventually spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe. Harvest season in temperate zones of the northern latitudes is September to March, making Brussels sprouts a traditional winter-stock vegetable.Brussels sprouts are a cultivar group of the same species as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi; they are cruciferous (they belong to the family Brassicaceae; old name Cruciferae). In the 1990s, Dutch scientist Hans van Doorn identified the chemicals that make Brussels sprouts bitter.Production of Brussels sprouts in the United States began in the 18th century, when French settlers brought them to Louisiana.Most US production is in California, with a smaller percentage of the crop grown in Skagit Valley, Washington, where cool springs, mild summers, and rich soil abounds, and to a lesser degree on Long Island, New York. Once harvested, sprouts last 3–5 weeks under ideal near-freezing conditions before wilting and discoloring, and about half as long at refrigerator temperature.Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential biological properties.Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming, microwave cooking, and stir frying do not cause a significant loss.Consuming Brussels sprouts in excess may not be suitable for people taking anticoagulants, such as warfarin, since they contain vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor.The most common method of preparing Brussels sprouts for cooking begins with cutting the buds off the stalk.Some cooks make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat.Overcooking renders the buds gray and soft, and they then develop a strong flavor and odor that some dislike for its garlic- or onion-odor properties. Common toppings or additions include Parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, chestnuts, or pepper. .
In its seedling stage and early development, the plant closely resembles the common cabbage, but the main stem grows to a height of 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet), and the axillary buds along the stem develop into small heads (sprouts) similar to heads of cabbage but measuring only 25 to 40 mm (1 to 1.6 inches) in diameter.Though commonly grown as annuals, Brussels sprouts are biennial plants and will produce yellow flowers with four petals if kept for two seasons. .
How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
Sprouts are hardy plants and will grow in most sites but will need to be staked in Autumn in exposed areas to prevent blowing over in high winds.If you choose staggered planting dates sprouts can be harvested for a long period from September to February.You do need to be careful, however, not to let the compost plug completely dry out or it will form a crust on top and won't absorb the moisture the next time you water.You can leave the cloche off the plants on dry frost free days and replace at night.Gradually increase the time with the cloche removed until the end of the week when can you leave it off day and night.If you have started your seeds on a windowsill you will need to leave them in an unheated room for a day or two before moving outside to the cloche.Make a hole in the soil with a trowel or dibber slightly deeper than the seedling root ball.A light sprinkle of seaweed/poultry manure around the planting hole will help your broccoli get off to a good start.Keep your sprouts well watered in dry weather, all brassicas prefer a moist soil.Our 'Seamungus' seaweed-chicken manure pellets are an excellent source of nitrogen which will be perfect for leafy crops like cauliflower.Hoeing not only removes the weeds but it also breaks up the surface of the soil and creates a fine texture or 'tilth'.A good tilth lets air and moisture in to the roots of your plants thus increasing their vigour.Recent transplants are most vulnerable and will die, when plants are lifted you will find small white maggots around the roots.Use cabbage collars fixed around the plant stems or cover the crop with protective mesh or fleece.Cabbage caterpillars are active between may and October and lay clusters of yellow eggs under the leaves.Leather jackets and Cutworms are a similar grey/brown colour and live below the surface of the soil where the emerge from at night.Clubroot likes acid soil so adding ground limestone or calcifies seaweed will help prevent it's spread.Remove any yellowing leaves as you go as they can harbour disease and restrict airflow around the ripening sprouts.If you're heading up to the in-laws for Christmas and have told them you're bringing your homegrown sprouts harvest cut the whole stalk, they'll keep longer. .
Brussels Sprouts : Tips from Seed to Harvest – Vermont Organic
It is well worth noting that often store bought Brussels sprouts are picked too early, and it shows in their bitter flavor and tough texture.Picking them fresh from the farm or garden after a few frosts sweetens the flavor and makes them tender, offering a whole different experience!Generally treated like broccoli or cauliflower, Brussels sprouts prefer well-drained soil and do not require excessive nutrients.They don’t really like the heat but will survive through our hot summers, yielding a delightful harvest very late in the season.(By the way: the younger, tender leaves can be cooked up much like collards or turnip greens, if that’s your idea of a good time.).Another practice is topping, or cuttiing off the growing tip of the plant when the sprouts are present but immature.Late August to mid September, or 3 weeks before the first harvest, is the best time to prune the tops in our region.The reason for doing it is to send the remaining energy of the plant in to sizing up your sprouts rather the in to creating new leaf growth.We’ll prune the top in mid September to stimulate larger sprouts in late fall.Once plants begin to set sprouts, they can become a bit top-heavy and could be prone to wind damage (or even be blown over).Remember to cull the yellowed or blackened leaves often, and give the bottom (stalk end) a fresh cut. .
Growing Brussels Sprouts
My first crops grew to lopsided nubs, and indeed several seasons passed before I began harvesting crisp, sweet sprouts.Brussels sprouts grow into stiff, topheavy plants with skinny bases that are easily damaged by rocking in the wind.In the UK where the soil-borne disease called clubroot is common, some gardeners have found that lightly dusting the planting hole with lime reduces problems and increases yields.Lightweight garden fleece or row covers made from tulle will protect plants as they soak up summer's heat – an essential factor in the making of a good crop.This I learned the hard way: Brussels sprouts must have a good shot of summer sun to grow into big, robust plants.Brussels sprouts should never be allowed to dry out completely, and I like to feed them with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks, just in case they need it.Healthy upright plants have fewer problems with this chronic pest of fall, which can be managed to some extent with weekly harvesting followed by spritzing with insecticidal soap.I favor braising sprouts cut into halves, quarters or thin slices in hot butter or olive oil, which brings out the beauty and flavor of this challenging yet supremely rewarding vegetable. .