Looking for something different to grow in your vegetable garden this year? Brussels Sprouts is a very interesting, easy-to-grow plant. C’mon, give it a try and see just how easy it is to grow!
As a member of the cabbage family, Brussels Sprouts are very cold hardy plants, with a strong, distinctive flavor. Their flavor is best when harvested after a frost or a freeze.
“Sprouts”, as they are often called, is a vegetable plant with a large, tall, thick stalk. The sprouts grow just above leaf stems, where the stem meets the stalk.
Brussels Sprouts were developed in Brussels in the 14th Century.
Botanical Name: Brassica Oleracea
Brussels Sprouts mature in 90-110 days or more.
Plants grow slowly in hot weather.
Flavor improves after a frost. Consequently, time the harvest for fall, shortly after the first frost in the area.
Brussels Sprouts are grown from seeds. Plant seeds in spring as early as the ground can be worked. Sow seeds directly into the garden, or start seeds indoors, four to six weeks before setting plants out into the garden.
Transplants are hardy and can be planted before the last frost.
Brussels Sprouts are a cool weather plant, with a long growing period. If your area does not have enough time for both a spring and a fall crop, grow it for the fall.
During hot, dry summer weather, the plants will grow slowly and may appear almost dormant. Do not let this bother you. Once cool, fall weather arrives, they will grow more quickly and will continue to grow after the first frost.
Brussels Sprouts will grow well in average to good garden soils. Plants should be grown in full sun.
Thin or space plants 18 inches apart.
Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Add water during summer droughts.
Keep plants well weeded. Apply much, if desired to keep weeds down and help retain soil moisture.
Add a general-purpose fertilizer once a month, for best growth.
When the plants reach about a foot tall, begin to break off lower leaves and stem where the stem emerges from the main stalk. This allows sunlight to reach the sprouts and gives them room to grow. Continue to do so, leaving four to six levels of leaves at the top.
At the end of summer, pinch off the growing tip. This will encourage the plant to direct its energy to grow the sprouts.
Harvest sprouts from the bottom up, taking as many as your need. Or, harvest the entire plant at the end of the season….well after the first frost.
Soil Temperatures – Ideal germination temperature by vegetable
Ideal Soil pH – by vegetable
Like other members of the cabbage family, insect problems can occur.
This vegetable is susceptible to major aphid infestations, just as this flavorful vegetable is maturing. Spraying is all but a must. Both organic and chemical sprays are effective against aphids. Spray frequently, and as needed.
Cabbage loopers can also be a pest problem. Cabbage loopers are the larva stage of a moth. Those white moths that visit your garden and yard are the culprits. Some people call them white butterflies. Effective treatment in the home garden is to place a screen over the plant so the moth cannot lay her eggs. Commercial growers apply insecticides to control them.
Organic controls in the form of soap or garlic sprays are also effective.
All members of the cabbage family like cool and even cold weather. They can be among the first plants in your garden each spring, and the last in the fall. Start plants indoors. They can be transplanted outdoors before the last spring frost or freeze. They will survive below thirty degrees. In the fall, they will be your last crops to survive the increasingly frequent frosts. The flavor is enhanced by frost.
While the cabbage family thrives on cool weather, many varieties will rot, or go dormant during hot weather.