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If you've been gardening for long, then you know that there are plenty of challenges to face. One of the most frustrating is trying to get Brussels sprouts to grow. They just don't seem like they're going to make it no matter what you do! This article will show you how to garden successfully with Brussels sprouts so your plants will thrive and give you an abundant crop this fall!
Brussels sprouts are a vegetable plant that tends to grow best in a climate that is cooler in temperature. It is a slow-growing vegetable, so if you plan on growing Brussels sprouts, remember to plant it in an area that you do not expect to clear for a while.
Gardening Tips for Brussels Sprouts That Really Work
Brussels sprouts are a fall vegetable and will not be ready to harvest until then. Here are some tips for growing Brussels Sprouts.
History of Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have been cultivated in Belgium since the 16th century. The name "Brussels" may come from the Middle Dutch word for Brussel, which means "to brush," referring to how farmers would use a broom on their fields of sprouts.
Brussels sprouts were introduced to North America by Thomas Jefferson in 1781.
Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
Loaded with great benefits, this veggie is a veritable treat. They contain vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Their fiber content helps to lower cholesterol levels and prevent constipation, while the antioxidants in Brussels sprouts may reduce the risk of cancer.
Basic Brussels Sprouts Facts
They will germinate in 7-12 days
A slow-growing, long-bearing crop, Brussels sprouts should be planted in early spring or mid-to-late summer for a crop that matures in the fall. The small heads mature best in cool and even in light frosty weather. Spring planting is also fine in cooler climates.
Brussels sprouts grow best in cool weather, but they will sprout from seed when soil temperatures are between 45 and 80 degrees.
The exact number of sprouts is hard to tell, but each plant should generate at least a quart of sprouts.
You can eat them cooked or raw. The smaller they are, the less bitter they are. If you are eating them raw, try the sliced or shopped over salads or in slaw mixes.
Gardening Tips for Brussels Sprouts: Soil
Soil conditions must be perfect to get a proper growing season. Till the land to loosen the dirt and add some organic compost if possible. Brussels Sprouts tend to grow best in slightly acidic conditions with a pH level of about six or seven. The soil must be moist and loose. Brussels sprouts grow best when they are given an organic fertilizer mix that includes lots of nitrogen to promote the production of leafy growth and ample flowering.
In regards to planting Brussels Sprouts, you should sow the seeds indoors for approximately 5-6 weeks before you plant them in the garden. They grow best in temperatures ranging from 45 to 75 degrees. When planting the seed pods, plant them approximately ½ inch deep. Place them in front of an inside window where it is still warm, and the sun can speed up the germination process. You should see growth in 2-5 days.
If you are growing Brussels Sprouts from transplants, the best time to place them in the ground is from April to May. However, if you are planting from seeds, you can plant the seeds in the ground as late as June.
Plants should be spaced 24-30 inches apart, and if seedlings appear to be weak and spindly, you can bury them in the soil up to the first set of leaves to give the plant some solid roots. They are a plant that requires frequent watering. However, you need to let the soil dry out before watering once again. They tend to like the ground moist but not soaked.
Gardening Tips for Brussels Sprouts: Plant Care
While they seem a little finicky, they are actually pretty easy to grow. Brussels Sprouts need to be fed nitrogen fertilizer every month. Approximately one month before harvesting, you need to remove the top part of the plant. By doing so, it will tell the plant to stop growing new leaves and concentrate more on developing the plant buds.
Another essential factor to remember with Brussels Sprouts is that they have a shallow root system. Organic compost should be added to the base around the plant at regular intervals. Remember to pick the buds from the bottom of the plant first, when harvesting the Brussels Sprouts. The plant buds should be free of wormholes and have leaves that green and firmly wrapped around the compact bud. You can also choose to harvest the whole plant at one time. Simply cut the plant near the root once the leaves start to turn a yellow color.
Brussels Sprouts take a lot of nutrients from the soil while growing. You should add some organic compounds to the soil when the plant is just starting to grow. The PH levels should be between the 6.0 and 6.5 range. Adding fertilizer to the seedlings just before they are planted into the ground will help this vegetable to grow well. A fertilizer that has a strong magnesium and calcium base is best.
Harvesting Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are ready for harvest when the leaves begin to turn yellow and wither—a process that usually takes about 100 days. Harvesting should be done before very heavy frosts or rains, since both can make harvesting difficult.
Enjoying Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are best eaten when they have reached about the size of a walnut. If left to grow any bigger, Brussels sprouts will be too fibrous and can become bitter tasting.
Easy Brussels Sprouts Recipe
We love the simplicity of this sheet pan recipe for sweet potato hash that has Brussels Sprouts in it Killer Breakfast Sweet Potatoes Hash Recipe - but we love them roasted on their own.
All you have to do is trim off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees until they are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. We have tried the same seasoning and done them on the grill too - yummy!