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Brussels Sprouts: A Go-To Guide

Growing Brussels Sprouts

Red Ball Brussel SproutsBrussels sprouts are very nutrient rich and are a great super food to incorporate into your diet. Unfortunately, in today’s commercial growing society, fruits and vegetables are caked in harmful pesticides. Jung and savvy gardeners know the safest way to get your nutrients is by growing fruits and vegetables yourself. Since growing Brussels sprouts is a little more complex than "set it and forget it", most people just turn to the grocery store aisles. We’re here to help your garden grow… a little outside its comfort zone. With our simple guide to growing Brussels sprouts you can feel more confident in your green thumb. Read below for valuable tips on growing Brussels sprouts.

Optimal Conditions for Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a cool weather crop and grow best when temperatures are around 60 degrees F. Brussels Sprouts do well in planting zones 4-7 and Zone 8 with exposure to full sunlight. As one of the few winter vegetables, Brussels sprouts can withstand light freezes and even snow fall. In fact, Brussels sprouts actually taste better after a soft freeze or two.

Soil Conditions for Brussels Sprouts

Garden Rocker Rolling SeatBrussels sprouts prefer alkaline soil with a pH of around 6.5 with soil temperatures above 50 degrees F. These winter vegetables will perform best in flat or raised beds. Use mulch to add nutrients to soil, retain soil moisture, keep soil temperatures consistently cool, protect against weeds and extend the harvest in cold seasons. Any weeds which may crop up around your Brussels Sprouts should be hand-picked so as not to disturb the roots of the winter greens. We recommend using the Garden Bandit Precise Weeder. To make weeding less painful, try the Garden Rocker Rolling Seat or the Gardeners Kneeler Seat to help reduce knee and back pain.

Planting Brussels Sprouts

While you can start Brussels sprouts indoors or outdoors they do best when started indoors 4-6 weeks prior to the last frost. When starting plants indoors sow seeds ½" deep and 2-3" apart. Once Brussels sprouts seedlings have reached 3" they can be transplanted outdoors. When transplanting Brussels sprouts, sow seedlings about ½" deep or as deep as the lowest leaves. Seedlings should be planted 24-36" apart, ensuring ample room for the roots to spread. Pat soil around the seedlings, but don’t compact it. Water the seedlings well. Keep Brussels sprouts at optimal health by fertilizing and watering on a regular basis.

Protecting Brussels Sprouts Plants

While Brussels sprouts are a hearty overwintering crop, in areas where winters are mild, we still recommend using mulch and/or floating row covers to provide a supplementary layer of protection. In particularly windy areas, we suggest you stake your Brussels sprouts as mature, well-producing plants can acquire a heavy lean.

Pest Control for Brussels Sprouts

Aphids On Brussel SproutsJust like all plants, Brussels sprouts have their natural enemies. Brussels sprouts are particularly vulnerable to aphids, beetles, maggots, white mold and downy mildew. For best results, do not plant Brussels sprouts where previous cabbage family members have been planted. Instead, if possible, plant them where beans, peas and other legumes were previously planted. You can protect sprouts from garden pests by using mulch and floating row covers. For supplementary Brussels sprouts pest control we recommend Eight Insecticide, All Seasons Spray Oil, Insecticidal Soap, Organocide Insecticide Concentrate, Thuricide or Tomato and Vegetable 3 In 1.

Harvesting Brussels Sprouts

As the Brussels sprouts begin to mature look for any yellowing leaves and remove immediately. To increase production and speed harvest time prune the outer leaves as they flower out. Brussels sprouts are ready to harvest when they reach approximately 1". As sprouts reach full maturity, harvest them from the bottom up as this is the order in which they mature. Brussels sprouts are usually prime for harvesting after the first or second frost. Remove the Brussels sprouts by twisting them from their base.

If you have more sprouts which are not ready to be picked and a hard freeze is coming you can uproot the plant, remove the leaves and hang the plant upside down in a cool interior space for a couple more weeks of harvest time!

Once mature Brussels sprouts are picked you can store them in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is best to hold off on rinsing your sprouts until right before use. Washing Brussels sprouts and then storing them can compromise their color and consistency.

Now enjoy your Brussel Sprouts sauteed, raw or in a yummy casserole!

yummy Brusse lSprouts Casserole
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