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How to Grow Brussels Sprouts Plants
Nutritional and easy to grow, if you have not yet grown Brussels Sprouts, this is the year to do so.
Brussels Sprouts is a member of the cabbage family. They are a very cold hardy plant, with a distinctively strong flavor. The sprouts taste best, when harvested after a frost or a freeze.
"Sprouts", as they are often called, is a vegetable plant with a large, tall, thick stalk. The sprouts grow at the base of leaf stems, where the leaf stem meets the stalk.
It should come as no surprise to discover, that Brussels Sprouts were developed in 14th Century Brussels.
Brussels Sprouts are grown from seeds. Plant seeds in spring as early as the ground can be worked. Sow seeds directly into the garden, or start seeds indoors, four to six weeks before setting plants out into the garden.
Transplants are hardy, and can be planted prior to the last frost.
Days to Maturity:
Brussels Sprouts mature in 90-110 days, or more. They will grow slowly in hot, dry weather.
How to Grow Brussels Sprouts Plants:
Brussels Sprouts are a cool weather plant, with a long growing period.
During hot, dry summer weather, the plants will grow slowly, and may appear almost dormant. Do not let this bother you. When cooler fall weather arrives, they will grow more quickly. They continue to grow after the first frost.
The plants do not need rich garden soil. Brussels Sprouts will grow well in average to good garden soils. Grow these plants in full sun.
Final plant spacing: 18 inches apart.
Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Add water during summer droughts.
Keep plants well weeded. Apply much, if desired to keep weeds down and help retain soil moisture.
For best growth results, use a general purpose fertilizer once a month.
When the plants reach about a foot tall, begin to break off the lower leaves and stem, a few at a time, where the stem emerges from the main stalk. This allows sunlight to reach the sprouts, and gives them room to grow. Continue to do so, leaving four to six levels of leaves at the top.
At the end of summer, pinch off the growing tip. This will encourage the plant to direct its energy to growing the sprouts.
Harvest sprouts from the bottom up, taking as many as your need. Or, harvest the entire plant at the end of the season....well after the first frost.
Insects and Pests:
Insect problems can occur.
This vegetable is susceptible to major aphid infestations, just as this flavorful vegetable is maturing. Use an organic or a chemical sprays, as needed.
Cabbage loopers can also be a pest problem. Cabbage loopers are the larva stage of a moth. Those white moths that visit your garden and yard are the culprits. Some people call them white butterflies. Effective treatment in the home garden is to place a screen over the plant so the moth can not lay her eggs. Commercial growers apply insecticides to control them.
Organic controls, such as garlic sprays are effective.
Brussels sprouts seldom have disease problems.
Like other members of the cabbage family, Brussels Sprouts like cool and even cold weather. If you start plants indoors, they can be transplanted outdoors before the last spring frost. The plants will survive below thirty degrees. Flavor is enhanced by frost.
While the cabbage family thrives on cool weather, many varieties will rot, or go dormant during hot weather.
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