Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts in the North

Diablo Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, a member of the cabbage family, thrive in the north because they’re hardy and improve in taste once temperatures cool or a light frost sets in. Seeing as Brussels sprouts are slow to mature, it’s best to start them indoors in spring or use transplants bought from the local nursery to successfully grow them in the north.

Vegetable Type: Annual
Genus: Cabbage Family
Name: Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group
Zones: 4-7 (summer vegetable)

Guide to Growing Brussels Sprouts in the North

How to Start Seeds Indoors

Supplies Needed

  • Seed Starter Tray/Pots
  • Packet Brussels Sprouts Seeds
  • Loam or Organic Vegetable Potting Mix
  • Spray Bottle with Water

Tip: Start Brussels sprouts seeds indoors 4 - 5 weeks before first scheduled frost in the north.

1. Fill trays or pots 3/4 of the way with soil
2. Place 1 - 2 seeds in each pot or every 3 inches in trays
3. Lightly top with 1/4 - ½ inch of soil
4. Mist with water
5. Set trays in warm location exposing to sun
6. Keep soil evenly moist
7. When seedlings reach 2- 3 inches tall, thin to 1 per pot or 1 every 3 inches
8. Harden off Brussels sprout seedlings before transplanting

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts Outdoors

Tip: When Brussels sprout seedlings have been hardened off, and all danger of frost has passed in the north, transplant seedlings outdoors.

Spacing: Plant 1 seedling every 24 - 36 inches in rows that are 30 inches apart

Type of Soil: Fertile, well-draining soil. Till compost or composted manure into bed where Brussels sprouts are to be planted to increase soil fertility

Light: Full sun

Watering: Keep soil moist but not saturated

Fertilization: Side dress plants with composted manure or compost when plants reach 12 inches tall

Mulching: Mulch around Brussels sprouts to keep weeds down and soil moist

Weeding: Gently cultivate around plants being careful not to disturb the shallow roots

Brussels Sprout Garden Pest and Disease Control

Cabbage Root Maggot: Caused by a fly laying eggs in cracks at the base of the plant or in nearby soil. Eggs hatch into maggots that feed on roots and stems. has several tips for combating these pests.

Clubroot: Caused by a fungus. Stop fungus from spreading by digging up and removing all Brussels sprout roots and tendrils. Place in plastic bags and dispose - do not add to compost or fungus may be left behind. Test soil pH and raise above 7.2 if need be.

Cabbage Loopers/Imported Worms: Check for green worms on Brussels sprouts plants, particularly around leaves. Handpick all worms and cocoons drowning them in soapy water.

Aphids: Look for tiny, pear-shaped yellow, green or brown insects with long antennae and legs. Treat by spraying with a mixture of 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap mixed into a quart of water (shake well before using).

How to Harvest Brussels Sprouts

Harvest Brussels sprouts from the bottom of the plant up when sprouts reach maturity - about an inch in size for most varieties. Brussels sprouts improve in flavor when temperatures cool. Leave plants in the garden until the ground freezes.

Storage and Preservation

Freezing: Blanch 2-3 minutes. Freeze on cookie sheets before transferring to freezer bags to easily take specific amounts from bags.

Root Cellar: When ground freezes, pull entire plants, roots and all from the ground. Shake off any dirt and hang plants upside down in root cellar for 4 - 6 weeks.

Varieties of Brussels Sprouts to Grow in the North

Royal Marvel Hybrid Brussels Sprouts: Extra-early variety. Produces high yields of 1 inch sprouts dark green in color. Provides great taste as well as texture. Tastes great fresh or frozen. 85 days.

Churchill Brussels Sprouts: Early variety. Produces, large, smooth, flavorful sprouts medium-green in color. Adapts well to different climates. Vigorous grower. 90 days.

Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts: Early variety. Produces 1 inch sprouts on 24 inch tall plants. Sprouts are firm. Prolific grower. Extended harvest. Freezes well. 90 days.

Nautic Brussels Sprouts: High-yielding especially in the north where fall is cool. Produces flavorful, medium-sized sprouts light green in color. Tolerates cold. Harvest in late fall. 105 days.

Related Articles

List of Varieties of Brussels Sprouts

No comments:

Post a Comment