The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5×4 cm (0.98×1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages.
HOW TO GROW
- Sow your seeds in seed pots. Do this approximately 5 to 6 weeks before you want to transplant them into your garden. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) deep. You can keep seed pots inside near a window or outdoors in a protected area as long as daytime temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10° C). Germination will occur in 2 to 5 days.
Brussels sprouts transplants should be started in April for May planting. Brussels Sprouts can be direct seeded up until mid-late June for a continuous harvest.
- Prepare the garden 2 to 3 weeks before planting. Till the soil and mix in organic compost. Brussels sprouts do best in loose organic soil that retains moisture. They grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.
- Transplant your seedlings into the garden. They are ready when they are 4 to 6 weeks old and around 6 inches (15 cm) tall.
Remove the plants from the seed pots. Soak the root balls in a general plant fertilizer mixed with water before planting them in the garden. Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s guidelines to prepare the correct concentration of fertilizer solution.
Space the plants 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm) apart. If the transplants are spindly or growing crooked, you can bury them in the ground up to the first set of leaves so the plants do not become top heavy.
- Water the plants at the base after transplanting. Keep them well watered throughout the growing season to prevent the ground from drying out. Reduce the amount of water a couple of weeks before harvest; allow the ground to dry between watering.
Ensure to water the crop adequately during the growing season as the plants require water for growth and sprout development. However, Brussels sprouts need a large amount of water but do not like standing water. That being said, lighter soils will require more frequent waterings than heavier soils.
- Feed Brussels sprouts with a nitrogen fertilizer every few week(Prefer Organic fertilizer). Stop fertilizing when you cut back on watering at the end of the growing season.
In addition, removing the growing tip of the plant about a month before the harvesting date will result in greater yields as the plant will divert energy from leaf growth into developing the Brussels sprouts
- Add organic compost to the top of the soil around the plants regularly. This feeds the plants and provides a barrier for weeds. Brussels sprouts have a very shallow root system, so avoid disturbing the soil around them.
Weed the area carefully by hand if needed. Aphids and cabbage worms are common pests that will affect the sprouts. Maintaining the soil PH at 6.5 or above will help prevent certain diseases such as club root (a soil borne fungus)
- Harvest your Brussels sprouts slowly, starting at the bottom of the plant. The sprouts mature from the bottom up and are at their sweetest when they are still small and tightly closed.
To encourage development of the upper sprouts, pinch out the growing tip of the Brussels sprouts plant in late summer. The Brussels sprouts will develop a sweeter flavor after a few light frosts.
- Pick the sprouts when they are 1 to 1-1/2 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) in diameter.Pinch them off with your fingers or use a small knife to cut the buds off.
The sprouts form in the leaf axils (the point between where the leaf joins the stem) and can be harvested around 3 months after planting.
- Harvest the entire stalk with the buds intact instead of doing a slow harvest.Cut the stem a few inches below the bottom bud when the leaves on the plant start to turn yellow.
Store the sprouts in a cool dark place. Like most things sprouts taste best when they are fresh.
- Fertilize three weeks after transplanting.
- Mulch to retain moisture and keep the soil temperature cool.
- Do not cultivate, roots are shallow and susceptible to damage
- Cabbage Root Maggots
- Flea Beetles
- Downy Mildew
- White Mold
- Brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them.
- Brussels sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection.
- For total glucosinolate content, Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. T
- The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
- Brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function.