The most reliable and best brussels sprout plant is ‘Brigitte F1’. Brussels Sprouts are super delicious when cooked properly. Little did you know that brussel sprout plants are considered as a superfood because they contain glucosinolates that help prevent cancer. It takes 26 weeks to 31 weeks to reach maturity and produce crops.
Where to Grow Brussel Sprout Plants?
Brussels Sprouts are hardy plants that can grow in most places but need to be staked in Autumn if they’re placed in exposed areas to prevent them from getting blown by the wind. The soil you’ll plant them in should be very fertile and has a generous amount of garden compost and well-rotted manure. They need firm soil, therefore, the ground should be prepared in the previous Autumn and allowed to settle.
When to Grow Your Sprout Plants?
Their seeds should be sown in modular trays in mid-March, early April, and early May. They can be set out to be planted out 4 weeks later. Always remember that they should be along with the Brassica section in your crop rotation plan.
Sowing Brussel Sprouts
It’s best to use a modular seedling tray when you’re going to sow brussels sprouts. One seed should be sowed 2cm deep and wait for 7-12 days for them to germinate. After about 4 weeks, you can now plant them out. Once you see sprouts that are germinated, make sure to remove the weaker ones by cutting them off rather than pulling them out.
Watering the Sprout Plants
Your seedlings should be properly watered before planting them out. However, it’s best that you underwater them rather than overwatering them. Making the roots stretch out to find water is good in developing a better root system. However, never let your compost plug completely dried out or there would be a crust formation on top that would hinder your soil from absorbing moisture the next time. If it’s a hot day, water twice a day. If it’s a normal week, you may water every 2 days.
Hardening Off the Plants
The process of hardening off lets your plant get used to outside conditions. This way, your plant won’t be pushed to get used to outside conditions right away. The best way to do this is using a cloche or a mini greenhouse. Gradually making the time you leave the cloche on your plants shorter as days progress would slowly get them used to the conditions outside. If the weather is mild, you can just move the plants outside for longer periods each day. If you’ve grown your weeds on a windowsill, you’ll have to leave them in an unheated room for 1 – 2 days before putting them outside and draping a cloche on top of them.
Transplanting Brussel Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts require a large planting space and a very firm bed. Their tall varieties need 90cm between plants and 90cm between rows. Their small varieties need 70cm between plants and 70cm between rows. The hole you’ll be digging should be deeper than the seedling root ball, therefore, you’ll be planting the seedling up to the level of its first true leaves (the second set of leaves). Push the soil around the plants horizontally to get a firm connection between the root ball and surrounding soil.
Sprinkle seaweed or poultry manure around the hole. Water it well if there’s no sign of rain within the day.
How to Care for Brussel Sprouts?
Your Brussels Sprouts should be watered well in dry weather, because they prefer moist soil. They need to be fed every 4 weeks with seaweed or chicken manure pellets. You may use liquid feed too.
Hoeing, using an oscillating stirrup hoe, is important to control the weeds and stimulate the plants’ growth. Doing this process removes weeds and breaks up the surface of your soil and makes tilth. A good tilth would let air and moisture into the roots.
Your plants should be staked and earth up around its roots in Autumn to avoid them from rocking and getting blown over. A 2in post beside the plant should be enough, tie your plant to the post with a soft tie or a garden twine.
Harvesting the Sprouts Plants
Brussels Sprouts ripen from the base of its stalk. Start picking from the bottom and work your way up. The leaves that are yellowing should be removed, because they may bring diseases in and restrict airflow.
If you’re planning to give your harvest to your family for Christmas, it’s best to cut the whole stalk since it will last longer. Dig up its root and burn the root once you’ve got the stalk because composting it might encourage club root.