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Growing Brussel Sprouts to 
Tantalize Your Taste Buds

Mature Catskill Brussel Sprouts



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 reddish 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 axis (between each set of leaves), maturing from the base of the stem 1st and continue up the stem.



Climate and soil



climate

Being a cool season plant Brussels Sprouts improve in quality and grow best during cool or even lightly frosty weather. Warm, sunny days and light frosts at night are ideal to produce tender, sweet sprouts.


Soil Conditions

Brussels sprouts are grown much like the related braccica crops, cabbage and broccoli, preferring a well fertilized and drained organic rich soil with a pH of 6.0 and above.


Soil temperatures and air temperatures differ greatest in the early spring. While air temperature might be in the range for planting or sowing seed it will take consistently warm temperature during the day and night for the soil temperature to follow suit.


Planting

best planting method;

Transplanting seedling is by far the most successful method of growing brussel sprouts.



Brussels sprouts are a rather large plant with most varieties growing to 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) tall with an umbrella like foliage almost as wide.



Space plants at 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) within the row and space rows at 30 inches (75 cm) apart.

Transplant seedling into the garden or beds slightly deeper than they were in the pots.



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.




Plant Care


Because of the height brussel sprouts can grow it is common to provide the plants with a stake to support them.


Brussel sprouts will benefit from a little trimming. Sprouts develop better if the lower 6-8 leaves are removed from the stalk as the sprouts develop.

The larger upper leaves should be left intact to continue feeding the plant.




Weed and moisture Control


Weed control with any plant that is transplanted really is a breeze by mulching around the plant as soon as it is transplanted . It is not hard to maintain the mulch during the growing cycle.


An even soil moisture content, that is best achieved with a good quality mulch, is needed for transplants to become well established and to produce good yields.



Fertilizer

When transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer. 2 to 3 weeks before transplanting spread 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer. Use the same rate every 3-4 weeks as side dressing. last side-dressing as the heads begin to show.




Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is very important when growing Brussel Sprouts as with other members of the Brassicaceae family, these include  cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radish, turnips, and of course, all forms of cabbage. Allow at least 2-4 years between growing any members of this large vegetable group in the same garden bed.




Pests and Diseases


pests

Aphids, Cabbage Loopers, Cutworms, Diamond Back Moth, Flea Beetles, Harlequin Bug, Imported Cabbageworm, Mites, Root Fly, Slugs, Weevil, Whitefly

Diseases

Alternaria Leafspot , Black Leg, Black Rot, Club Root, Damping Off, Downy Mildew, Leaf Spot, Rhizoctonia, Yellows.



Harvesting and Storing



Harvesting

Brussels sprouts develop first from the bottom portion of the stem and upwards from there. Harvest the sprouts when they are well formed, firm and bright green at 1- 1-1/2 inches (25-38 mm) diameter. The upper sprouts will continue to form and grow as the lower ones are harvested.


Once picked from the stalk no further sprout will grow from that position.



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.


Growing brussel sprouts resemble miniature cabbages, they grow 1-1-1/2 inches (25-37 mm) in diameter.



Storage

Brussels sprouts can be kept in good condition for 3-5 weeks at 32 F (0 C) with a relative humidity of between 95-100%. The rate of deterioration of Brussels sprouts increases considerably at temperatures above 40 F (4 C)











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