Growing Brussel Sprouts That Will Tantalize Your Taste Buds

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Photo of mature brussel sprouts Mature Catskill brussel sprouts

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Growing Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a leafy green vegetable belonging to the brassica family The brussel sprout plant has a thick stalk that can grow up to 3 feet (1M) tall. The leaves are dark green, or redish purple in some varieties, have a rounded shape and grow in whorls up the stem.

The edible portion of the plant is the sprouts. They grow on the stalk of the plant, in the leaf axils (between each set of leaves), maturing from the base of the stem 1st and continue up the stem. Once picked from the stalk no further sprout will grow from that position. Growing brussel sprouts resemble miniature cabbages, they grow 1-1-1/2 inches (25-37 mm) in diameter and depending on the variety; a single plant may produce 80-100 sprouts or roughly 2-3 lb (approx 1-1 1/2 kg) of sprouts. Although the taste of different varieties vary somewhat, good home grown brussel sprouts have a sweet nutty flavor.

The older varieties of brussel sprouts, which have been all but replaced with modern hybrids, are very slow growing. However, even with the introduction of faster growing and more uniform hybrids varieties brussel sprouts still require a long growing season to mature.

Quick Reference Guide

Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Brussel Sprouts
Also Known As
Botanical Family - Brassicaceae, Species - Brassica oleracea , Cultivar group - Gemmifera Group
Plant Type Cool season - biennial - leafy vegetable
Frost Tolerance Hardy
Planting Position Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - requiring a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 4 years
Germination 5-8 days at 40-80 F (4-27 C)
Growing Temp 50-70 F (10-21 C)
Seed to Transplant 5 - 7 weeks
Planting Method Direct sow or Seedling transplants
When to Plant Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest
Time to Plant As soon as 2 - 4 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently 40 F (4 C) and above.
Seed Sowing Direct sowing brussel sprout seeds - 1/2 inch (12 mm) deep - 4 inches (10 cm) apart in rows 24-30 inches (60-75 cm) apart.
Plant Spacing Transplant or thin seedlings 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart in rows 24-30 inches (60-75 cm) apart.
Soil Conditions Well drained - High organic matter - Medium fertility.
Fertilizer Medium fertilizer needs, 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks – last side-dressing as the heads begin to show
Days to Harvest 80-150 days - depending on conditions and variety.

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