Stop buying brussel sprouts. Use these 11 tips to grow it at home

There is a general distaste for the mini cabbages known as Brussels sprouts. This is understandable since the ones bought in the grocery store are generally picked too early and result in vegetables that are bitter and tough. Garden fresh Brussels sprouts taste completely different from store bought; when they are allowed to stay on the plant through a frost or two before being picked their flavor sweetens considerably. This alone makes it worth the effort to grow your own!
These 11 tips will help you to successfully grow Brussels sprouts in your own garden.
1. Growing season
Brussels sprouts are a long-season crop, that requires cool weather (60-65°F) for best growth. They are one of the first garden plants to go into the ground (transplant seedlings mid-May) and need a solid frost before being ready to harvest making them one of the last plants to be harvested.
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2. Soils
They like well-drained soils that are high in organic matter. The soil pH should be on the higher side of neutral for the best plant growth and to discourage disease.
3. Plant spacing
If planting seeds, plant Brussels sprouts 3-4” apart and then thin to 18-24” once the seedlings are established. Seedlings should go in the ground at the recommended 18-24” spacing with 30” between rows to give you room to walk.
4. Watering plants
Mulch around the plants to keep the soil moist, but water sparingly to keep the ground from being saturated. If plants do not get enough water from rain, give them 1-1 ½” of water per week.
5. Pruning leaves
When lower leaves begin to yellow, strip them off the plant immediately. Some gardeners will remove all of the leaves from a stalk to accelerate harvest but this isn’t necessary.
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6. Boron deficiency
If your plants develop hollow stems and small buds, they are most likely suffering from boron deficiency. You can remedy this by adding 1 tablespoon of borax to 5 quarts of water and sprinkling it over the garden area. (https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-brussels-sprouts/)
7. Club root
Occurs when the soil does not drain well, or the pH isn’t on the high end of neutral. Roots become enlarged and distorted, leaves wilt/yellow, and plants can die. To treat, improve soil drainage and add lime to make soil more alkaline.
8. Cabbage root fly
White worms up to 2” in length feed on roots just below the soil surface. This can cause the plant to die. Protect from cabbage root fly by covering plants with mesh.
9. Protect from birds
Cover plants with mesh or horticultural fleece to keep winged garden visitors from pecking at the sprouts as they form.
10. Harvesting
As sprouts are ready (1-2” in diameter), harvest from the plant from the bottom up, snapping them off with a sharp tug downward.
11. Storage
Store the fresh sprouts in the refrigerator, waiting to wash them until just before cooking. For best flavor use them within a day or two of picking.
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Growing your own Brussels sprouts is worth the effort it takes! When sprouts are allowed to stay on the plant until it frosts once or twice in the fall it results in vegetables that are much sweeter and more tender than anything you can buy in the store. A completely different taste and experience!
Make sure to share this article on Facebook, to pass along these great tips!
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