By growing the right varieties its possible to pick sprouts seven months of the year. Starting in September with an early variety such as ‘Brilliant‘ and finishing up in March harvesting ‘Fortress‘.
Many gardeners believe that Brussels Sprouts taste at their best when they have had a frost on them, I don’t detect any difference myself.
Soil Preparation for Brussels Sprouts.
Sprouts require a very firm soil, that has plenty of organic matter in it. A site where manure/compost was added for the previous crop is ideal.
The soil does not want to be at all acid so apply garden lime if need be, allow the soil to settle over winter.
A few weeks before planting firm the soil surface and rake in a good general fertilizer.
Sowing Brussels Sprout Seed.
Early varieties are sown in seed trays or pot at the beginning of March, in a greenhouse or cold frame. To achieve a long cropping season choose three varieties each with a later expected harvest time, these can be sown at intervals up to late April.
Planting Brussels Sprouts.
To develop to their full potential sprouts need plenty of room to grow. As sprouts are quite large/tall plants, position them so they don’t shade other crops or each other. Position each plant 2½ ft apart, firming the soil around the plant and water well.
Some form of protection will invariably be needed to ward off attacks from pigeons and other wild life.
General care for Brussels Sprouts.
Keep the soil watered in dry weather until the young plants are established, remove any weeds from in between the plants as they compete for moisture.
Aphids and caterpillars can be troublesome,and should be kept under control by spraying at regular intervals.
In autumn stake taller growing plants before any winter gales can do any damage.
Harvesting Brussels Sprouts.
Start to harvest as the sprouts become of a usable size from the bottom of each plant. Remove any blown or open sprouts,along with any yellowing leaves.