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 willÂ 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.