This article will guide you through growing Brussels Sprouts, from selecting seeds, preparing the soil, planting, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting your crop.
Brussels Sprouts are a cool-season vegetable belonging to the Brassica family. Family members include cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. These miniature cabbages grow along a tall, central stalk, and their unique appearance and delicious flavor make them a popular choice for home gardeners.
When choosing Brussels Sprouts seeds, look for varieties well-suited to your growing region and climate. Some popular cultivars include:
Long Island Improved
Brussels Sprouts Seeds for Planting – Long Island Improved Heirloom, Non-GMO Vegetable Variety- 800 mg Approx 225 Seeds Great for Summer, Fall, and Winter Gardens by Gardeners Basics
Long Island Improved Brussel Sprout Seeds– Heirloom Non-GMO USA Grown Premium Vegetable Seeds for Planting – Approx 1 Gram – 100 Seeds Minimum
Jade Cross (Hybrid) Brussels Sprout Seeds (20 Seed Pack)
Jade Cross (Hybrid) Brussels Sprout Seeds (300 Seed Package)
Survival Garden Seeds – Catskill Brussels Sprouts Seed for Planting – Packet with Instructions to Plant and Grow Tasty Cruciferous Vegetables in Your Home Vegetable Garden – Non-GMO Heirloom Variety
500 Catskill Brussel Sprout Seeds – Heirloom Non-GMO USA Grown Cool Weather Vegetable Seeds for Home Garden Planting by RDR Seeds
Consult this article for region-specific recommendations. If you prefer to start with seedlings, purchase healthy, vibrant plants from a trusted nursery or garden center.
Preparing the Soil
Brussels Sprouts thrive in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Adjust your soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its texture and nutrient content. If your soil pH is too acidic or alkaline, use lime or sulfur to adjust it accordingly. Perform a soil test before planting to determine any nutrient deficiencies and make any necessary changes.
When growing from seeds, start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost date. Sow 1/4 inch deep in seed trays or small pots filled with seed-starting mix. Soil: keep consistently moist, and maintain a temperature of 65-75°F (18-24°C) until germination, typically within 7 to 14 days.
Once seedlings have developed two sets of true leaves, transplant them into larger pots for further growth. By gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions for 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting them into the garden, you will harden off the seedlings.
Transplant seedlings outdoors when 3 to 4 inches tall, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Plant seedlings were slightly deeper than they were in their pots, covering the base of the stem with soil. If you’re planting seeds directly in the garden, sow them 1/4 inch deep and thin seedlings to the recommended spacing once they have developed true leaves.
Brussels Sprouts require consistent moisture for optimal growth. Water your plants deeply once or twice a week, providing 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Adjust your watering frequency based on weather conditions, ensuring the soil remains evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around plants can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Feed your Brussels Sprouts with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or organic alternative, such as compost or well-rotted manure. Apply fertilizer at planting time and again when the plants are about 12 inches tall. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers, as they can promote excessive leaf growth at the expense of sprout development.
Pest and Disease Management
Monitor your plants for common pests such as aphids, cabbage loopers, and worms. Remove pests by hand or use organic controls like neem oil or Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) to manage infestations. Practice crop rotation and maintain proper plant spacing to reduce the risk of diseases like clubroot and black rot.
Brussels Sprouts are ready for harvest when firm, green, and about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Harvest Sprouts from the bottom of the stalk upward as they mature from the bottom up. To harvest, twist the sprouts off the stalk or use a sharp knife to cut them away.
Brussels Sprouts can tolerate light frosts, which can improve their flavor. You are planting for a fall or winter harvest so that the Sprouts will mature around the first expected frost date. If temperatures drop below 20°F (-6°C), protect your plants with row covers or harvest them before freezing temperatures damage them.
Brussels sprouts are delicious and nutritious vegetables that can be enjoyed year-round. The refrigerator is an ideal storage option for gardeners who want to enjoy them for an extended period. Brussels sprouts can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks in a plastic bag with small holes for ventilation. It’s important not to wash the Sprouts until ready to use, as moisture can promote spoilage during this short-term storage.
For long-term storage, blanching is recommended before freezing Brussels Sprouts in an airtight container or freezer bag. Blanching helps preserve their color and texture while killing any bacteria on their surface, so they stay fresh longer after being frozen.
To blanch your Brussels Sprouts, bring a pot of water or steamer basket filled with water up to boiling point, then add your prepared Brussels Sprouts. Boil or steam them for three minutes, then remove from heat immediately and plunge them into an ice bath until completely cooled down before draining off excess liquid and storing them away.
Overall, it’s easy to store Brussels Sprouts for short-term refrigeration and long-term freezing if you follow these simple steps above! This will help ensure that gardeners can access tasty Brussels Sprouts all year round, regardless of seasonality!
Growing Brussels Sprouts in your garden can be a rewarding experience, as these nutritious and delicious vegetables are versatile in the kitchen and make a beautiful addition to your garden. You can enjoy bountiful homegrown Brussels Sprouts by carefully selecting seeds or seedlings, preparing the soil, planting, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting. Remember to monitor your plants for pests and diseases, and practice good garden hygiene to ensure a successful harvest. Happy gardening!
Companion planting is an age-old gardening technique that involves growing complementary plants together to benefit each other, whether through improved growth, pest control, or soil enrichment. Regarding Brussels sprouts, several plants can be grown together to enhance growth and keep pests at bay. Here are some companion plants for Brussels Sprouts:
1. Nasturtiums: These attractive flowering plants can help deter aphids, which are common pests for Brussels Sprouts. Plant nasturtiums near or around your Brussels sprouts to create a barrier against these pests.
2. Marigolds: Marigolds are another flowering plant that can help deter pests, such as cabbage moths and nematodes, from attacking your Brussels Sprouts.
3. Alliums: Onions, garlic, and chives can help repel aphids, cabbage worms, and whiteflies. In addition, they can enhance the flavor of Brussels Sprouts when grown nearby.
4. Leafy greens: Spinach, lettuce, and other leafy greens can be grown alongside Brussels Sprouts, as they have similar growing requirements and will not compete for nutrients.
5. Root vegetables: Carrots, radishes, and beets can be grown with Brussels Sprouts, as their root systems do not interfere with each other, and they can share the same soil nutrients.
6. Aromatic herbs: Planting herbs like sage, thyme, and mint near Brussels Sprouts can help deter pests. They also can improve the overall health of the plants.
7. Peas and beans: These legumes can benefit Brussels sprouts by fixing nitrogen in the soil, promoting healthy growth in the Brassica family.
8. Celery: Celery and Brussels Sprouts are compatible, as they have similar water and nutrient requirements and do not compete for space.
Avoid planting Brussels Sprouts near plants that can inhibit their growth or attract pests. Some plants to avoid growing near Brussels Sprouts include tomatoes, strawberries, and nightshade family members, like potatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
By thoughtfully selecting companion plants for your Brussels Sprouts, you can create a thriving garden ecosystem that encourages healthy growth and minimizes pest issues.