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As the early growing season of Brussels is currently ongoing in many parts of the world, among gardeners in different provinces, you might be wondering how best to join the rest of it is likely your first time growing a brussel sprout plant in your garden.
If it is your choice to try out this new adventure and you don’t know how to start, then you must keep reading as this article will serve as a guide in enlightening you on the numerous steps that you must take to grow healthy Brussels sprouts and also yield enough during the harvesting period.
Step-By-Step Process on How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
Below are the necessary steps that you might take to grow a healthy Brussels sprout. These steps are as follows:
1. Choose The Variety To Grow
The first step that you must take in growing your plant is by choosing the variety of Brussels sprouts that you want to plant. These choices are made depending on the season that you want to start growing them as all varieties don’t accommodate all seasons.
There are more than 100 varieties of Brussels sprouts to choose from. If you want to engage in growing hybrid Brussels also known as palettes or flower sprouts which are known to produce large crops with highly tasty, high-quality sprouts, then you should pick F1 hybrid varieties.
Also, if you are interested in starting your growing in the early, mid and late seasons respectively, there are specific varieties for each as long as you have enough space to grow them for harvesting from autumn through late winter.
Furthermore, if your garden is mostly infected by pests and diseases, then you should consider going for some of the varieties that are resistant to most diseases such as clubroot etc.
2. Choose The Best Spot
Growing Brussels sprouts, you need to look out for the best location that can suit the particular variety that you want to plant. Though generally, Brussels sprouts tend to thrive in a place where there is exposure to full sunlight with rich moisturized soil.
This is so because just like other plants in the same family of cabbage like brussel sprouts such as kale, collards, or broccoli are mostly prone to a wide range of soil-borne diseases.
So while growing your brussel sprouts, ensure that you rotate them among the various areas of the garden each season.
That’s to say that you should avoid growing your Brussels sprouts in the particular spot where you planted its family members.
3. Prepare The Garden
Another step that you must take is to examine the soil on which you are growing your brussel sprouts. As brussel sprouts like to be grown in a sunny spot, so does it like to be grown on fertile, well-drained, and firm soil, preferably loamy soil is highly recommended.
While testing your soil if you notice that it is acidic, you should apply a lime to increase the pH level to at least 6.5.
Furthermore, it is important that you also weed the garden or ground to get rid of any weeds. Do well to weed it thoroughly and dig in plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost which should be approximately two buckets per square.
Add fertilizer, especially ones that are high in potassium such as Vitax Q4 at least three handfuls per square.
4. Sow Your Seeds
Brussel sprouts usually require a long growing season, so you must start your planting very early. You can either grow this plant indoors or outdoors but note that both have different months of the year that you can plant it.
If you choose to sow your brussel sprouts indoors and early, then, I will recommend that you sow from February to April in modular trays either in a greenhouse or cold frame.
Also, if it is outdoors, you should start your early seed sowing from March to May under cloches or fleece if the weather is still cold.
5. Water Your Brussel Sprouts
Watering your plant is one of the first essential nutrients that every plant requires. In the case of Brussels sprouts, constant watering is what helps to determine the level of yield that you will have at the end of the planting season.
So, you must constantly check your plants to know when it is too dry so that you can water the plant. Doing so will help to prevent a lack of growth or exposure to diseases from the plant.
You should repeat the watering process every 10 to 14 days especially if there has been no sign of rain.
Furthermore, establishing a layer of mulch can help to retain the soil moisture as well as help to keep the roots cool.
6. Temperature And Humidity
Brussel Sprouts prefer to be exposed to a temperature between 45 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit while the humidity level wouldn’t likely be much of a problem as long as the soil is moisturized and there is a good airflow around the plant as it should be.
7. Add Fertilizer
The best-recommended fertilizer that you can use on your brussel sprouts is an organic vegetable fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen.
You can start applying immediately after the seedlings reach up to 6 inches tall. This must be constantly done throughout the growing season and don’t forget to read the instructions on the label and administer as stated.
When your Brussels sprouts have grown to 10-15cm (4-6in) tall which is usually April to early June, you must transplant them from the sowing site to their final growing position. To do so, you must ensure that:
A. Water the young plants well a day before moving the young brussel sprout plants.
B. Ensure that you prepare your site and ensure that the soil is well firm as they will grow into tall top-heavy plants that need to be well anchored in the ground to withstand the winter gales.
C. While relocating the plant, do well to lift them carefully to avoid damaging the root. Then afterwards, set them in their new planting hole which should be more deeply than before, with their lowest leaves at the soil surface, to ensure they root deeply and firmly.
D. After setting them in their respective holes, it is important that you space the plants 60cm (2ft) apart, with 75cm (30in) between rows. It will help the plants to absorb and be exposed to enough sunlight which will help in the healthy growth of the crop and the prevention of fungal diseases.
E. Water the young plants regularly and watch out to avoid dryness in the plant not until the plant has grown strong.
9. Pests And Diseases
Brussels sprouts are prone to pests and disease problems just like other plants in the cabbage family. The most common pests are usually the cabbage looper, cabbageworm, cabbage root maggot, and aphid.
So to prevent them, you should consider using row covers to protect your plants.
Also, if you notice that your plant has been infested by cabbage worms, you can control it by checking the plants regularly and removing the worms by hand, then squishing them or dropping them into a bowl of soapy water. You can also dust it off with plants with Bacillus thuringiensis throughout the growing season. Ensure that you reapply it after the rain.
In addition, you should also protect your seedlings from slugs and snails which are another set of pests that attack brussel sprouts. You should place a cabbage collar around the base of the stem to deter when the cabbage root flies.
Several fungal diseases also can affect Brussels sprouts, including black rot, clubroot, downy mildew, and white mould.
So you must expose your plant to adequate air circulation around the plants which will go a long way to be helpful.
However, in a situation whereby your plant has become diseased, the best option is to destroy them.
11. Harvesting Your Brussels Sprouts
You should start harvesting your brussel sprouts when the lower sprouts reach about an inch in diameter. Pick them before they get too large, and start cracking and turning bitter.
Pulling off the sprouts will help to remove the leaf below each sprout first. Then, afterwards, twist and pull the sprout by using pruners.
After harvesting, you might notice the growth of a second crop of sprouts at the base of the stem. These wouldn’t be as tight as the harvested ones but they are still edible.
When you are done, you can store the Brussels sprouts in the refrigerator for about five days and don’t wash them until you plan to use them.
1. Are Brussels Sprouts Easy To Grow?
Brussels sprouts are easy to grow and can take up little space in the garden. You must start the indoor planting 4 weeks before your last frost date. This is a long-season crop planted in spring for a fall harvest.
2. Do Brussels Sprouts Come Back Every Year?
Brussels sprouts do not come back every year as they are biennials, which means they only live for two years. So while the plant can survive more than one year, in the second it’ll produce flowers and seeds, rather than edible heads.
3. What Is The Best Fertilizer For Brussels Sprouts?
The best fertilizer for a brussel sprouts plant is a time-based granular fertilizer with an NPK of 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 or a liquid fertilizer.
4. What Are The Medicinal Benefits Of Brussel Sprouts?
There are 5 top health benefits of Brussels sprouts which includes:
A. It is rich in protective antioxidants.
B. It contains cancer-protective compounds.
C. It helps to prevent heart failure and supports heart health.
D. It supports gut health.
E. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
We hope that these step-by-step guidelines which we have provided for you in this article will go a long way in educating you on what to do when growing your brussel sprout plant this season.
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