Growing Brussels Sprouts For Higher Yields
Brussel sprouts are one of those plants 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
Treat As Late Cabbage
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 to two
seeds per inch approximately one 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 18 to 24 inches apart.
Transplant Excess Seedlings
Excess seedlings can be carefully dug up and transplanted to give you a
longer row. They move quite easily at this stage.
As with other members of the cabbage family, Brussel 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.
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 four
to five times to get all the sprouts over a five to six 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
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.
And Brussel sprouts are acceptable with butter and lemon when not
overcooked. I'm told they freeze well but not being one to prolong the
agony, I''ll let you experiment with that. I just grow 'em and tell you
how to do it.
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