How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
Growing Brussels Sprouts
Sprouts have always been one of the most popular winter green vegetables. They can be grown to give you a supply of sprouts from September to March. Unless you want to strip the plants at a single pick and then freeze the harvest, pick-over varieties should be grown.
The soil should be well-supplied with organic matter and must, if anything, be even firmer than foror the plants run to leaf and the sprouts will be loose.
About 2lb (900g) of sprouts per plant.
Time from Sowing to harvest
Far better to grow the Fl hybrids than older traditional ones. The varieties given below are suitable for picking over a period but the sprouts can be encouraged to mature more or less together on early varieties by taking out the top of the plants when the bottom sprouts are about a half-inch across, provided that this is before October. This is another vegetable with new varieties coming out every five minutes. At the moment, I grow ‘Hastings’ if I want an autumn crop, but rely on ‘Trafalgar’ for early winter and ‘Agincourt’ and/or ‘Revenge’ for mid- to late winter. All very blood-thirsty!
Sow from mid-March to mid-April, according to variety, half an inch deep in nursery rows.
Plant very firmly with a dibber from mid-May to early June when the plants are about 6in (5cm) high. Allow 24-30in (60-75cm) between plants, and water the plants well in.
Hoe as and when needed to keep the weeds down, and aim at steady growth by watering when required.
Pests and diseases
Cabbage root fly,, caterpillars of Large White and Small White , cabbage moth and club root. In addition, pigeons may be a nuisance in rural areas. Netting the crop is the best means of controlling both pests.
The finer (7mm) net required for butterflies will, of course, keep pigeons at bay during the winter.
Start by picking the lowest sprouts when they are about 1 in (2.5cm) across and still hard. This encourages those further up the stem to develop. It is possible to freeze any surplus but they should always be left and then picked later in preference to freezing as they taste better. Also, there is no doubt that sprouts are not at their best until they have had one or two hard frosts on them.