Real Men Sow

Growing to Love the Brussel Sprout

brussellsBrussel sprouts are still much maligned in some quarters, but for me they’re as much a festive staple as turkey and Christmas pud. As a kid I couldn’t stand the little green balls, and had an ongoing battle with my mum every time she served them.

I’d devour everything on the plate except the sprouts, every time. This went on for years. Still mum served them. Still I ignored them.

But when I got my first allotment, things suddenly changed. I grew everything in my first year, even if I didn’t like it, and this included sprouts. This led to a rather haphazard growing approach and a massive seed bill, but one of the positives was an opportunity to reappraise how I felt about veg.

For example, would the taste be better? And would I feel differently about some veg because I’d grown it myself?

A Sweeter Sprout
The humble sprout was just one of these vegetables. Luck would have it that my sprouts grew smaller than you would normally find in the supermarkets, but surfing on the wave of my first growing season, I picked them anyway.

Growing your own gives you the chance to pick fruit and veg when it really is at its very best – before the runners get string and when the tomatoes are at their juicies, for example. Sprouts are just the same, and mini Brussels were a revelation to me and my anti sprout ways.

From Zero to Hero
Baby Brussels were so much sweeter than any sprout I’d tasted before and almost immediately they became one of my favourite harvests.

Now I grow sprouts every year. If you’re really keen, you can stagger varieties so you have a sprout crop that runs from early autumn all the way into mid spring, but I tend to stick to one winter variety, ready to pick around Christmas. For the past couple of years I’ve grown Evesham Special, from Mr Fothergill’s.

Growing Sprouts
For a December harvest, I sow in pots of multipurpose compost in April. Seeds will germinate in conditions above 5oC, so they can be sown much earlier under cover too. I transplant onto open ground once the seedlings are about 20cm high.

Sprouts are a remarkably hardy vegetable, but they can be susceptible to whitefly so cover with netting at the first sign of trouble.

The stalks will grow tall, so consider staking the plant if your plot is open or particularly strong winds are forecast. You can also try mounding earth up around the base for extra support.

A good frost will sweeten the sprouts further, and don’t forget you can eat the tops of the plant too!

Tagged

Related Posts

Sign up to receive a RMS weekly bite size summary, featuring all posts from the previous seven days, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

Buy My Book on Amazon!

me

Sign Here for Updates!

Sign up to receive a regular RMS bite size summary, featuring all recent posts, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #15 – Blackberry and Apple Flapjack
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.

Archive

The Veggy Social

As Featured In…