Growing brussels sprouts at home is not a difficult task but you need to wait a little longer for the harvest. Because brussels sprouts take 4 months to grow from seeds to harvest. The harvesting season starts in late autumn. You can grow different varieties of brussels sprouts in your garden at the same time. All of the varieties take the same time to grow and have the same harvesting season.
Today you’ll learn how to grow crisp, crunchy brussels sprouts in your garden in easy steps.
You should grow Brussels sprouts in your garden because of their health benefits and the late harvesting season. Their harvesting season begins in late autumn when all other crops are finished for the season. This way you’ll have fresh brussels sprouts for a long time. Moreover, their quality remains the same for 2 months once they are ready to harvest.
If you grow a green variety your plant will produce green sprouts. If you choose the purple variety your plants will produce purple color brussels sprouts.
Growing brussels sprouts from seeds
For growing brussels sprouts timing is the most important factor. In cold climates, you should plant seeds in late spring or in the early days of summer. Then they take 4 months to grow from seeds to harvest.
I live in a cold climate and start seeds indoors in late May. After 45 days I transfer them outside in the garden.
In a warmer climate, you should plant the seeds in the last days of summer and your harvest season will start in early winter.
You have two options when it comes to sowing Brussels seeds. You can directly sow them in your garden and they will grow like other plants grow. I never plant seeds directly in my garden because I have discovered that young plants get infected by plant diseases easily.
Therefore, I always start brussels sprouts indoors and then transfer Brussels sprouts seedlings into my garden.
For brussels sprout seedlings care to place the pot on the window shelf where seedlings can get direct sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours.
You can use high-quality grow lights that emit a full spectrum of light. LED grow lights are full spectrum grow lights and they are easy to maintain and cheap to buy.
Fill the seedling tray cups with the potting mix and sow brussels sprout seeds half-inch deep. Sow single seeds in each tray cup. Then cover the tray with the dome or if you don’t have a dome, use plastic wrap to cover it. This method will hold the humidity inside and speed up germination.
Once you see the little sprouts, uncover the tray, and keep the soil moist. Do not make it wet otherwise seedlings will get affected by fungus. For healthy, strong seedlings use liquid vegetable fertilizer and use it once in 10 days.
Harden off seedlings 7 days before its time to transfer them to the outside garden. This makes them strong and they handle the cold weather easily.
Planting Brussels sprouts seedlings in the garden
To save time, start preparing your outdoor garden for transplanting and also hardening off seedlings at once. Brussels sprouts give heavy harvest when they are grown in well fertile soil and receive direct sunlight. Make sure your normal garden soil has all the essential nutrients. To do so mix compost or manure in it.
Plant the seedlings 2 feet apart and rows 3 feet apart.
If you like to sow direct seeds in the ground then sow them 6 inches apart.
We all know this plant is a member of the cabbage family. So, it is prone to imported cabbageworm attacks. To protect your seedlings from insect attacks use insect-plant cover. This lightweight cover is used to cover the plants and protect them from insects and flies.
Also, use neem spray to avoid fungus-like problems.
The good news is if you don’t have enough space for brussels sprouts in your garden. You can grow them in containers. All you need to do is choose the big fabric pot or container. So that plant roots can grow easily. Don’t forget to add compost in the growing medium. This ensures the regular supply of organic nutrients to the plant.
We all know compost releases nutrients at a slow rate and this makes a chain of nutrients supply. Organic material also holds water content for a long time.
Caring in the Summer season
You need to do the 4 following things to care for brussels sprouts in summer.
Regular watering is essential in the summer season for every plant. Plants need water to thrive. Water your plants 2 times a week on hot days in summer. Also, use mulching to help the soil to hold moisture for a long time. This reduces the watering needs of plants.
Brussels sprouts take a long time to grow so you need to feed your plants’ healthy food. Give any organic liquid vegetable fertilizer twice in the entire life cycle of a plant. Fertilize your plants for the first time when the seedlings are 45 days old.
And fertilize the second time when the plant is 3 months old. I use fish emulsion fertilizer but it is not necessary for you to use the same. Any good quality vegetable fertilizer is best for your growing sprouts.
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It is necessary to support the plants because Brussels can grow up to 4.5 feet in height. Their height and production of Brussels are directly linked to the fertility of the soil. To prevent toppling over the plants, use bamboo or any other wooden stake beside each plant.
It is a technique that gardeners use to encourage the maturity of all fruits at the same time. All you need to do is use hand pruners and remove the top growing tip of the plant. This drives the plant’s energy to the growing Brussels and you will have big size Brussels at the time of harvest.
Do this 1 month before the harvesting starts. Just clip out the upper 2 inches of the plants.
Best time to harvest brussels sprouts
The harvesting begins after the frost because the frost adds tasty flavor and make sprouts sweet. There are many ways to harvest brussels sprouts. You can cut the entire stalk and put it in a plastic bag to store it in the fridge for days. But this is not the best way of harvesting. Picking individual sprouts and leaving the unmatured ones to mature is the best way of harvesting them.
If you don’t want to harvest the entire plant at once. Then start picking each sprout from the bottom. Because the bottom sprouts get mature before the top ones. To remove sprouts safely use your hands and twist and pull the sprouts.
You can also use your kitchen knife to cut the sprouts.
Pest and disease care
Growing and caring for brussels sprouts are easy than other plants. But there are a few pests and diseases that can affect your plants. It is better you know about them before plating sprouts and also know how to tackle them?
This pest like to eat any and all cabbage family vegetables like Brussels, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Adult butterflies lay eggs on leave and once these eggs hatch. The green caterpillar starts eating plant foliage. To protect your plants, from cabbage worm you need to stop these butterflies from laying eggs on leaves. To do so I use a row cover.
Use neem spray to protect your plants from an aphid attack. If you see aphids on your plants treat them the right way otherwise you will have another ant attack problem. Because aphids leave liquid waste that is sweet for ants. They like to eat this sugary liquid waste.
These are common in the spring season use your hands to pick them and save your plants.
Cabbage root maggots and Clubroots are other common problems that you will face in Brussels gardening. Clubroot is a fungal disease that affects plant roots. Cabbage root maggots also attack the root system of plants. To prevent these problems, use a fabric cover to cover your plants for the initial stage (seedling).
Prevention is better than cure and you need to prevent all the possible pest and plant diseases. Cover your plants with fabric and use neem spray. Both these items can save your plants from different pests and diseases. Also, check the soil conditions before watering it.