Brussels Sprout Commitment with TLC

Brussels Sprout Commitment with TLC

I have found a new commitment to growing and eating Brussels sprouts. From 3 or 4 plants last year I ate several hearty meals including a socially distanced Christmas (not because of any sprout side effects). I treated the plants in a cavalier manner and wonder how much better they would be with a bit of tender loving care.

Reasons for my new Commitment

  • The plants do not take up as much space as other brassica crops when compared to the volume of food produced.
  • My soil is fertile and free of most diseases (famous last words.) It also hold plants firmly in the ground a feature I am informed helps sprouts.
  • In march I will sow last years seed of Evesham Special but also try find some F1 plants of early (maximus), mid (Diablo) and late (Revenge) season favorites.

Tender Loving Care

  • This year I will  draw up more soil round the stem in summer to reduce staking and provide support. (Evesham only grow 2 feet high)
  • Early sowing produces the best plants so I should get a move on. It is one draw back that plants grow for 12 months of the year but don’t need too much attention.
  • I have a lot of local pigeons but did not suffered any attack on young shoots last year. I still keep some chicken wire temporary fencing handy should the need arise.
  • This year after potting-on I will give a weekly liquid feed.
  • Watering well in summer will provide an opportunity to boost with a nitrogen-rich feed.
  • Whilst I try to minimise insecticides I will resort to them if caterpillars and white fly start to over power the crop.

Harvesting Brussels Sprouts

  • Flavour improves after the first frost. It declines after flowers appear.
  • Take the buttons from the bottom of the stalk first.
  • Take off blown or flowering sprouts and any yellowing leaves as you go.
  • Cut off the whole stalk and use the sprouts indoors as you need them. They keep better on the stalk.
  • The top of the stalk may be eaten like a small cabbage.

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