Brussels Sprouts Are a Delightful Treat
There are several hybrid varieties of Brussels Sprouts which are ideal for use in a home garden. Brussels Sprouts are quite hardy and can tolerate late autumn frosts throughout most growing zones. Sprouts require a long growing season to complete their full phase to maturity. These plants are ideal in the northern states due to the longer growing season and tolerance of colder temperatures. Brussels Sprouts can be grown from seeds indoors in starter pots when planted approximately one-half inch deep in potting soil.
How To Grow Brussels Sprouts
Allow the seeds to germinate and grow to seedlings of at least three inches in height prior to planting. When transplanting, simply remove each Brussels Sprout plant from the starter pot, roots and soil included, and plant to a two-inch depth in rows two to three feet apart. Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer when the plant has reached one foot in height. Brussels Sprouts need regular watering during the highest temperatures in the growing season. As with other garden vegetables, take care to avoid insect infestation with a dusting of insect repellent once through the growing process.
Encouraging Healthy Sprouts
One way to encourage larger size sprouts is to remove the leaves when the plant has sufficiently matured. Remove the leaves at the bottom of the plant rather than those at the top. Sprouts are ready for harvest when the buds or heads are at least one and a half inches in diameter. Sprouts usually mature at the bottom of the plant before buds at the top have reached maturity. Don’t leave Brussels Sprouts on the plant too long or the result will be stringy, tough sprouts. Timing is important when growing these vegetables. Keep a sharp eye to calculate the growing time when the first seedlings are ready for transplanting. To encourage growth, start seeds in a hot house or cold frame outdoors. This may reduce the length of time sprouts need to mature for harvesting. Aerating soil is another factor that helps create sturdy, healthy Brussels Sprouts. Use gentle strokes with a rake around the base of each plant, taking care not to disturb roots.
Enjoy a Healthy Brussels Sprouts Crop
Pick or gently cut the sprouts from between the leaves of the plant. The stems of Brussels Sprouts are quite sturdy. Some gardeners harvest sprouts by taking cuttings about twelve inches long that include sprouts, stem and leaves. This is recommended for home gardeners when the last crop is harvested. Brussels Sprouts may become a family favorite when picked at just the right moment of maturity. The longer these vegetables remain on the plant, the more bitter the taste may become. To avoid the bitter taste, simply choose Brussels Sprouts that are slightly immature. Steam young sprouts to extract maximum flavor without the bitter taste. Try adding a different flavor nuance like fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice added to steamed Brussels Sprouts will keep that young green appearance that looks more palatable. Brussels Sprouts are loaded with healthy nutrients.