Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that you either hate or love. There’s very little room in the middle on this one. If you love ‘em, you’ll be really pleased to know how easy they are to grow.
And yes, the spelling is Brussels Sprouts (note the “s” on the end of Brussels).
When to Plant
For the most part, treat this plant as you would a late cabbage crop. It is so easy to sow it outdoors and have it grow that starter plants should be outlawed.
After the last frost (end of May) sow seed very thinly at one seed per cm approximately
.6 cm (1 quarter-inch) deep. Do not bury too deeply. About a month later when the plants have four true leaves, thin out the row so that plants are spaced 45-60 cm (18 to 24-inches) apart.
Excess seedlings can be carefully dug up and transplanted to give you a longer row. They move quite easily at this stage.
Where to Plant
Full sun in moderately fertile soil. As with other members of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts like an open soil with good drainage and they do very well with soils high on organic matter. An even supply of water will produce a significant number of sprouts for harvest.
How to Plant
Treat exactly like a late cabbage for best results.
Care & Maintenance
With a well-grown plant, you can figure on 75 small sprouts per plant. Harvest when they reach an inch across and start from the bottom up. Work your way up the plant. You will find that this plant is very frost tolerant and that sprouts that have been lightly frosted seem sweeter than those harvested before frost. You should be able to harvest 4 to 5 times to get all the sprouts over a 5 to 6 week window.
If severe frosts are threatened in your area, you can pull the entire plant out of the ground (roots and all) and hang it upside down in a frost free area. Continue to harvest the sprouts until they are are gone. Compost the remaining plant.
You’ll get much higher yields if you ensure your soil is well fed; preferably with a good compost before the season starts and an application of fish emulsion during the season to keep this plant growing.
Pests are the same as for any of the cabbage family and you’ll have to watch for both aphids and cabbageworms. Generally, we don’t see much of any other pest.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm