There is a general distaste for the mini cabbages known as Brussels sprouts. This is understandable since the ones bought in the grocery store are generally picked too early and result in vegetables that are bitter and tough. Garden fresh Brussels sprouts taste completely different from store bought; when they are allowed to stay on the plant through a frost or two before being picked their flavor sweetens considerably.
These 11 tips will help you to successfully grow Brussels sprouts in your own garden. Read them!
1. Growing season
Brussels sprouts are a long-season crop, that requires cool weather (60-65°F) for best growth. They are one of the first garden plants to go into the ground (transplant seedlings mid-May) and need a solid frost before being ready to harvest making them one of the last plants to be harvested.
They like well-drained soils that are high in organic matter. The soil pH should be on the higher side of neutral for the best plant growth and to discourage disease.
3. Plant spacing
If planting seeds, plant Brussels sprouts 3-4” apart and then thin to 18-24” once the seedlings are established. Seedlings should go in the ground at the recommended 18-24” spacing with 30” between rows to give you room to walk.
4. Watering plants
Mulch around the plants to keep the soil moist, but water sparingly to keep the ground from being saturated. If plants do not get enough water from rain, give them 1-1 ½” of water per week.
5. Pruning leaves
When lower leaves begin to yellow, strip them off the plant immediately. Some gardeners will remove all of the leaves from a stalk to accelerate harvest but this isn’t necessary.