Growing Brussels Sprouts
Posted October 07, 2020
This hardy vegetable is an old time favorite and is delicious if cooked correctly. Try growing some this fall!
Brussels sprouts grow best in zones 4-7. In zone 8 as a winter vegetable. They are generally unsuited to warmer regions.
Dig or till the ground and incorporate garden compost. Brussels sprouts do not grow well in acidic soil conditions, so add lime if necessary to bring the pH up to 6.5 - 7.0 . Add Bio-Fish at time of planting to insure proper fertilization. One feeding is generally all they need for fall plantings, and repeat in 4 weeks for spring plantings.
Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost or 8-10 weeks before first fall frost average. If direct-sowing seeds, plant 1/2” deep and 2-3 inches apart 4 months before the first fall frost. Plant seedlings (transplants) 12-24” apart. Water well at time of transplanting and keep moist thereafter.
When seedlings are 6” tall, thin to 12 to 24” apart. Mulch Brussels sprouts to retain moisture, minimize weeds and keep the soil cool. Cultivate carefully, if at all. Roots are shallow and easily damaged. Remove any yellowing leaves to allow for more sunlight on the stalk and focus energy on healthy growth. If plants look distressed, drench with liquid kelp.
To encourage spring crops to head up faster, cut off the top leaves 3 to 4 weeks before harvest. To harvest sprouts during winter, leave top leaves intact to provide protection from snow. Covering plants with frost blanket is helpful in cold regions.
Sprouts mature from the bottom of the stalk upward. Harvest from the bottom when they reach about 1” in diameter. They can be twisted off or cut with a small knife.