Brussels sprouts are the cultivated variety of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea), derived from the same plant species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and many other popular food crops. Brussels sprouts provide us with a variety of foods.
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea) Picture
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea) Info
||Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera group)
||30 in. tall, 8 to 12 in. wide
||Neutral (6.5 to 7)
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea) History
In the 13th century brussel sprouts were cultivated near Brussels, from which they got their name. Early ancestors of the brussel sprout were believed to have been grown in ancient Roman times before they were popularized in Europe and the rest of the world. After being grown for centuries, Thomas Jefferson introduced Brussels sprouts to America in the early 1800's.
Ecological Habits of Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
Brussels sprouts are a cool weather crop that grows best around 60-65° F. They are one of the last crops in the garden and can even survive the winter if conditions are favorable. Usually treated like broccoli or cauliflower, Brussels sprouts prefer well-drained soil that doesn't require too many nutrients. Too much nitrogen produces lots of leaves, but not too many shoots. They want regular and generous watering. Harvesting usually starts around mid-October, and if you harvest a single bud instead of a whole stem, you can survive the winter for a few years.
How to Grow and Care for Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
How to Grow Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
Brussels sprouts are best sown in a modular seedling tray and planted out 4 weeks later. Sow 1 seed per module at 2cm deep in an 84 cell plant tray. They will germinate in 7-12 days and be ready to plant out about 4 weeks later. If the plants are on a heat bench or in a propogator and they are looking spindly, turn the heat down and try to give them as much light as possible. If 2 sprouts have been germinated in any of your modules you need to remove the weaker one. Don't pull the seedling out as you'll damage the roots of the one you want to keep. Nip the unlucky one with your finger nail or cut with a scissors. Watering. It's important to keep you seedlings properly watered before you plant them out in the gartden. You are actually far better to under rather than overwater your plants. This may sound odd but making the roots serch for water helps to develop a better root system. It's a bit like keeping fit. However, you need to be careful not to let the compost plug completely dry out or it will form a crust on top and won't absorb the moisture the next time you water.
How to Care for Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
The plants will grow and sprout best in full sun and need at least 6 hours of sun daily. Too much shade will slow the sprouts' maturity.
Brussels sprouts prefer fertile, well-drained soil rich in organic matter for best growth.
Never let your seedlings dry out before transplanting them into the garden. Use a misting spray bottle to ensure the soil remains moist during the germination and early establishment phase. However, gardeners must ensure the get the right balance when watering. Over-watering your seedlings can also result in stunted growth, and it increases the chances of the seedlings developing root rot.
Brussels sprouts prefer temperatures between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They'll tolerate a couple of days below freezing, and even improve their flavor with a bit of light frost. This is not a warm-weather crop—sprouts that mature during hot or dry weather will be bitter and flimsy.
Like all members of the cabbage family, brussels sprouts are nitrogen hogs and to have a successful crop you will want to feed the plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
If any of the lower leaves of the plant show any yellowing, at once strip them off. Some believe that the sprouts develop better if the lowermost six to eight leaves are removed from the sides of the stalk as the sprouts develop.
Harvesting Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
Once your Brussels sprout plant has matured, it will look like a tall green tower with knobs and leaves. The knobs will be the Brussels sprouts you eat. Once the knobs have reached about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5-4 cm.) wide and are firm when you squeeze them, they are ready to harvest. When harvesting Brussels sprouts, work from the bottom of the plant up. The bottom sprouts will be ready first. Use a sharp knife and cut the ready Brussels sprouts off the vertical main stem. We hope that this has helped you learn more about how to grow Brussels sprouts. Growing Brussels sprouts in your garden is both rewarding and delicious.
Uses of Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
Unlike most green vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rather high in protein. Although the protein is incomplete—lacking the full spectrum of essential amino acids—a serving of whole grains will make them complete. As a member of the cabbage family Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable. Current research suggests vegetables in this group offer protection against some forms of cancer.
Varieties of Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea)
‘Churchill’ is an early maturing plant, adaptable to most climates.
‘Diablo’ is known as a heavy producer.
‘Falstaff’ has a red/purple hue that holds when cooked
‘Jade Cross’ is a high-yield compact plant, resistant to some diseases and known for its tolerance for hotter weather.
‘Oliver’ is an early-maturing variety with a shorter growing season requirement (80–90 days).
‘Long Island Improved’ is an heirloom and a compact plant that prefers a cool summer.
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea) Common Pests/Diseases
Roots become swollen and distorted, and leaves become pale and yellow and wilt easily. Plants may die. Improve drainage and add lime to make soil more alkaline. Do not grow in affected soil.
White larvae approximately 5cm (2in) long, feed on the roots just below the soil surface, stunting growth and causing plants to wilt and die.Grow under insect-proof mesh or horticultural fleece. Seedlings are most vulnerable.
A number of caterpillars will feed on brassicas, but the most common are those of cabbage white butterflies. You will usually see the caterpillars, if not, you will see the holes they make in the leaves. They will also bore into the heart of cabbages. In mild attacks, or if you have only a few plants, you may be able to pick the caterpillars off. Insect-proof mesh or fine netting (5-7mm mesh) can prevent egg-laying.
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica Oleracea) Companion Plants
The number one goal for companion planting near Brussels sprouts
is to help repel insects like cabbage moths. Strong-scented herbs and flowers will really help here. We interplant our Brussels sprouts with dill and marigold, but other strongly-scented plants like sage, thyme, or tansy will also work.