Brussels sprouts are a favourite cool season crop. The green sprouts, or ‘mini-cabbages,’ grow along the thick stem. Plants get about two feet tall. High in protein. An excellent source of vitamin C. Freeze well for storage.
Light requirements Full sun.
Planting Space 18 to 24 inches apart.
Soil requirements Provide well-drained, nutrient-rich soil that’s high in organic matter. Work 3 or more inches of organic matter into planting beds. Check soil pH; Brussels sprouts like a high pH of around 6.8.
Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Typically, established Brussels sprouts need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, whether supplied through rainfall or irrigation.
Frost-fighting plan Brussels sprouts tolerate hard frosts (below 28ºF). Sprouts taste best after frost converts starches to sugar. Allow plants with sprouts to remain in the garden well into winter in even the coldest zones. Harvest sprouts until temperatures remain steadily in the teens. Cover seedlings in spring to protect from late spring frosts.
Common issues Keep an eye out for slugs, cut worms, harlequin bugs, cabbage loopers, diamondback moths, imported cabbageworms, cabbage maggots, webworms, and aphids.
Powdery mildew and rust may attack plants. Plants need boron to grow well; small sprouts and hollow stems indicate boron deficiency. As plants grow, they become top-heavy. Consider staking plants in windy areas, inserting stakes at planting time.
Harvesting Harvest sprouts when they’re firm, green and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Pick from the bottom of the stem and work your way up. Remove yellowing leaves as you harvest sprouts.
Storage Refrigerate unwashed sprouts in an open container with all leaves intact. Sprouts store several weeks this way. Outer leaves will shrivel or blacken, but the interior will remain tender and tasty.