Learn to plant and cultivate Brussels sprouts. They are loved by their delicateness and sweet taste.
Let’s face it — few people are excited over dishes that are made using Brussels sprouts. This is in the event that the sprouts are submerged in butter that has been melted or covered with cheese. However, the fact can be that Brussels sprouts that are picked fresh from the garden are soft, slightly sweet, nutty and delicious even with little food preparation. In case you’re not a huge fan of Brussels sprouts try them again and some space to develop in your garden and you might reconsider your opinion.
Choosing Which Brussels Sprouts to Grow
The first step to cultivating Brussels sprouts is to determine what variety you’d like plant. Find seeds that are disease-free and resistant varieties. If you reside in an area that has long winters and shorter summers, you should look for varieties that are bred to have an earlier harvest. When you’re choosing between hybrid and the heirloom varieties hybrids usually produce stronger sprouts. However, certain heirlooms have a unique taste.
Getting the Site Ready
Add Organic Matter
Brussels sprouts can take a long time to develop so it’s recommended to amend your garden bed with lots of well-rotted manure or rich compost prior to planting, or planting following an additional cover crop. An adequate amount of organic matter will break down gradually, providing nutrients to the plants as they develop throughout the year.
Do a Soil Test
A crucial aspect of preparing your site is to begin by conducting a soil test. The soil test is an excellent method of determining the pH of your soil (or the degree of acidity) and the amount of nutrients available, as well as how much organic material is that is present. This will help you to design your fertilizer program and will tell you if you should increase or decrease your level of pH for you Brussels sprouts (shoot for pH between 6 to 7). A few soil testing companies will offer a report with recommendations specifically for the specific kinds of plants you’re planning to cultivate.
Practice Crop Rotation
The members from the Brassica family, which includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli turnips, and cabbage are generally at risk of the same health issues. Pests are able to lay eggs or overwinter in soil, and disease-causing populations could grow within gardens. If you are deciding which area you will plant your Brussels sprouts this year find a place that hasn’t been used to growing the same crop or its close relatives in the past couple of years. Rotating where you plant the crops every season will ensure that your brassicas begin the season strong , and not have to battle the pests of previous seasons at the beginning.
How to Plant Brussels Sprouts
When Do Brussels Sprouts Grow Best?
Brussels sprouts thrive best when they have full sunlight (6 to more than 6 hours per day) as well as a rich soil, and regular irrigation. Though they are tolerant of temperatures of warm and cold but the bulk of their growth occurs when temperatures are about 60 degrees. Brussels sprouts can require a lengthy time to develop – typically about 100 days after placing seedlings within the gardens.
In the majority of the United States, Brussels sprouts are often grown indoors in the spring, then planted outdoors after the risk of frost is gone, growing throughout the summer, then harvested during the autumn. While Brussels sprouts are usually cultivated throughout the summer months in many places but they may be unable to thrive in the extreme temperatures of Southern Deep South. Southern gardeners might be able to harvest more by waiting to plant their sprouts in autumn and then grow them through the cold winter temperatures. Contact your county or state extension service to find out the most suitable time to plant Brussels sprouts for your local area.
How to Start Brussels Sprouts Indoors
Sow the Brussels sprouts indoors, 4 to six weeks prior to your area’s typical last frost. Start by planting more than you’ll require in the event that any of your seeds fail to grow. Fill a pot of flowers or planter tray with fine seedling mix, and then sow and cover the seeds. Seeds should germinate in about two weeks. Once the seeds have germinated provide them with sunlight from a bright window or bright grow-light.
After your seedlings have 5 or 4 leaves, you’re ready to poke them and then move them to its individual 4-inch pot. Take each seedling gently then place it in the middle of the pot, and gently compact the soil around the roots, and finally give it a drink. Put your seedlings in 6-inch pots instead of the 4-inch pots if you’re worried about the possibility of clubroot disease.
Begin to adapt your seedlings to the outdoors (also known as “hardening off”) a couple of weeks prior to the date you plant them in your garden. Place the pots in an open, sunny spot outdoors during the day, and bring them inside during the night. If the forecast predicts temperatures of less than 45 degrees, you should keep your seeds indoors until temperature rises.
Planting Brussels Sprouts in the Garden
It’s time to plant Brussels sprouts once they have filled the containers with root. What distance should Brussels sprouts be placed? Take a look at the seed packets or label on the plant to determine the spacing requirements for the variety you’re cultivating A best practice is to place plants approximately 2-feet apart. Firmly plant the soil around the plant the plant shouldn’t be lifted out of the soil if you gently tug at its leaves.
Growing and Caring for Brussels Sprout Plants
Make sure to give your Brussels sprouts a drink every couple of days beginning in the spring. Rainwater could be enough for your plants when they’re established by the middle of summer. It is essential for watering your Brussels sprouts in the event that your garden isn’t receiving one inch per week due to rain.
Brussels sprouts can get up to 3 feet in height. When the sprouts are growing on the stem the weight of their growing can cause them to fall over, or even break. Attach the Brussels sprouts stems with stakes to secure the plant.
“Top Plants” to Harvest Whole Stalk
If the smallest growth on your stem is 1/8 inch in size It’s the appropriate to “top” your plants. Make use of your fingers to pinch the growth that is emerging on the highest point of your stem. This signals to the growing plant to to concentrate its efforts on developing the heads. Plants that are topped will produce sprouts that are ready to harvest roughly at the same time, instead of producing sprouts that grow starting at the bottom of the stem all the way until the tip. Topping your plants can aid in the production of firm heads instead of open leaves that sprout.
You should water your garden regularly to ensure that there is no the competition for sunlight, water and nutrients. Remove weeds when they’re still young, if you can, to prevent disturbing the Brussels sprouts’ roots on the surface. The healthy layers of pine straw, straw wood chips or compost mulch can control weeds, while giving the soil nutrients and conserving water.
Scout for Health Issues
Brassicas are prone to a variety of pests and diseases , and Brussels sprouts are no different. In the case of safeguarding your Brussels sprouts your best line of defense should be to play good defense. Utilizing good practices like crop rotation (see the section above) beginning with seeds that are disease-free and the companion planting can help reduce health risks. Be alert for signs of problems can allow you to find an immediate solution before any major harm occurs.
Be sure to regularly look for insects like flea beetles whiteflies, aphids on cabbage as well as cabbage loopers. The season should begin with floating row covers to shield your vegetables when they grow, especially in the event that you’ve had to deal with the above issues with Brussels sprouts or other related vegetables previously.
Cabbage maggots can severely cause damage to Brussels sprouts seedlings. Adult flies lay eggs near the root of the plant. After hatching maggots move into the soil and feed on the plant’s roots which can stunt the plant. Each seedling should be given a root collar following planting to deter the cabbage maggot fly from causing harm. The small, circular piece cardboard with an opening in the middle to protect the plant will prevent the cabbage maggots from laying eggs in the Brussels sprouts.
Make sure your plants are treated with Bt ( Bacillus thuringiensis) If the cabbage loopers or other caterpillars appear to pose a problem on your crops. Bt is a natural microbe that, when consumed by caterpillars, releases the digestive system to release toxins which eventually prevent them from eating your vegetables.
How to Harvest Brussels Sprouts
Do not harvest the Brussels sprouts until the day after the first frost if any point. You wouldn’t believe it, but cold temperatures could create Brussels sprouts taste better. Cold weather is only good for the harvest and the plants aren’t damaged until temperatures drop below 20 degrees.
Brussels sprouts can be harvested for take a bite when they are half the size of a quarter. Simply move the head in a circular motion to separate its stalk. If you did not finish your plants early in the growing season (see the section above) The plants at the base part of your stem are ready for take the first harvest. Start harvesting at the bottom of the plant, and then come back later when the heads develop. Take off the lower leaves to accelerate the development of the head.
If you were able to top your plants, your Brussels sprouts are now ready to harvest simultaneously. You can remove each head or take the entire stalk and harvest it by cutting off the bottom of the plant.
Brussels sprouts are tasty, too. When you’ve harvested the heads, cut the leaves and cook them in the same way as collared greens.