Planting Brussels Sprouts

This vegetable has been grown near Brussels, Belgium, since the fourteenth century, hence its name. It is a minor crop in America even though its popularity has in-creased during the past 30 to 40 years.

It is an erect single-stalked plant, developing buds or small heads (sprouts) in the axils of the leaves. These heads or sprouts when fully developed are 1-2 in. in dia. and resemble miniature heads of cabbage. They are mild in flavor, rich in vitamins as well as calcium andiron.

Brussels Sprouts Varieties

The better types for the home gardener are: ‘Long Island Improved’, ‘Catskill’ and ‘Jade.’ ‘Half Dwarf’ is a standard variety in Calif.

Brussels Sprouts Culture

The general cultural requirements for brussels sprouts are about the same as for Cabbage and cauliflower. The plant will stand considerable freezing and can be harvested in the fall until severe freezes occur. The best quality sprouts are obtained in the fall with the sunny days and light frost at night. Brussels sprouts are grown as a fall crop.

The plants are spaced 24-30 in. apart in the row and 30-36 in. between rows. Seed planted in the outdoor seedbed in late May should produce strong transplants for their permanent place in the garden by late July. Soil preparation and fertilization is the same as for Cauliflower and Cabbage except that this crop is not as sensitive to high soil acidity as Cauliflower. Too much nitrogen and hot weather tend to produce sprouts that are loose, open, not compact and of poor quality.

Brussels Sprouts Buckleya

The sprouts begin forming first in the axils of the lower leaves, approximately 2-3 months after transplanting. In harvesting, the first picking should not be delayed after the lower leaves begin to turn yellow. In picking, the lower leaf below the sprout is broken off and the sprout is removed by breaking it away from the stalk. As the lower leaves and sprouts are removed the plant continues to push out new leaves at the top and in the axil of each leaf a bud or sprout is formed. In this manner sprouts may be harvested for a period of 6-8weeks.

Brussels Sprouts Storage

The sprouts will keep well in storage at 32° F. and a high relative humidity of 9o-95% for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. The whole plant is removed from the garden just prior to severe freezes and placed in the storage pit or storage cellar.

Brussels Sprouts Disease and Insects

Most of the pests of Cabbage and Cauliflower also attack brussels sprouts and the control measures are the same.