Brussels Sprouts

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Botanical name:

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Any

Soil pH: Neutral


Brussels Sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, and an excellent source of protein and vitamins. They have a long growing season, and are generally more successful when grown for a fall harvest, as they only increase in flavor after a light frost or two.

Planting

  • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost.
  • While starting seeds indoors is recommended, you may also direct sow seeds 4 months before the first fall frost. You may also have luck finding seedlings at a nursery.
  • Raised beds are especially recommended for cold season vegetables, especially when seasons are changing and temps are not consistent.
  • Work fertilizer into soil a few days before planting or transplanting.
  • Plant transplant seedlings 12-24 inches apart.
  • If direct sowing seeds, plant ½ inch deep and 2-3 inches apart. Thin plants to 12-24 inches apart when they reach 6 inches tall.
  • Water well at time of planting/transplanting.

Care

  • Fertilize three weeks after transplanting.
  • Mulch to retain moisture and keep the soil temperature cool.
  • Do not cultivate, roots are shallow and susceptible to damage.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest sprouts from the bottom of the stalk when they reach about 1 inch in diameter.
  • Do not wash the sprouts before storing them, only right before use.
  • Keep in plastic for up to 5 days, in the refrigerator.
  • Protect the plant by mulching with straw or providing a cover if you plan to harvest into the winter.
     

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Jade Cross’ is resistant to some diseases.
  • ‘Oliver’ is an early variety.
  • ‘Valiant’ produces consistent, uniform sprouts.

Recipes

Comments

Our Brussels sprouts are

By JE on April 4

Our Brussels sprouts are almost three years old(no sprouts yet). They have what appear to be suckers(new plants growing from a parent's root zone). Do Brussels sprout have suckers?

Brussels sprouts are slow

By Almanac Staff on April 4

Brussels sprouts are slow growers, but three years is inordinately long. The suckers may be the plant's way of self-sustaining.
The best recommendation is to start fresh this season. Sprouts are heavy feeders, so plant them in rich composted and well drained soil. Amend the soil before planting to a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Water often to maintain consistent moisture.

I have a brussel sprout that

By Linda Derrick on April 9

I have a brussel sprout that grew over the winter and still looks pretty good. I live in Texas by the Oklahoma border, and I am getting ready to plant my garden again this year. I don't want to waste any space, so I am wondering if I should pull up last year's brussel sprout plant, or leave it. Will it continue to produce in year 2?

In places with mild winters,

By Almanac Staff on April 11

In places with mild winters, Brussels sprouts can be grown through winter for harvest in early spring. 
As biennials, they will produce yellow flowers and seedpods in Year 2. You could dry the seedpods and save the largest seeds to replant. Under dry storage, the seeds can last up to 3 years.

After planting our garden

By Laurie Metz

After planting our garden which includes brussel sprouts (which I love), we carefully fenced it off because we have chickens, well somehow they found a way to get in and completely nibbled off all the leaves including the center of all our brussel sprouts, swiss chard and broccoli, but left the stems. They look like little skeletons! My question is, will they grow back and produce since they are just wintering over and are not fully developed.

No, they won't grow back.

By georgewilson

No, they won't grow back. Plant some more and you'll have to fence in your garden!

I live in West Tennessee,and

By lha

I live in West Tennessee,and have raised Brussels Sprouts where I lived before,but now I live on a wooded lot. There is a small area where I plant Tomatoes,Potatoes,and cucumbers. I also sometime plant Sweet Potatoes. My question is: how much sunlight do Brussels Sprouts require?

Brussels sprouts need a

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily, more is better. Good luck!!

Please e-mail me as soon as

By Grace Huston

Please e-mail me as soon as you can. I bought brussel sprouts on the stalk. I've taken a few off to steam, but need to know how to store the rest., take them off the stalk, leave them on the stalk. Please help, and THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Usually, one harvests the

By Almanac Staff

Usually, one harvests the sprouts as they grow on the stalk from the bottom up. To pick them, you can either twist them off, or better yet get a sharp knife and cut them off. Put them in a plastic bag in the the crisper part of your fridge and they'll keep for 5 to 10 days. Don't wash until you plan to use.

from Iowa I grew my brussel

By John Ludtke

from Iowa I grew my brussel sprots from seed, planted first part of June in ground, plants are about 3 feet tall with some good size sprouts on lower stem but the leaves have not turned brown, it is now first of Nov. do I go ahead and start picking from lower stem we have had a few heavy frost already?

Hi, John. At three feet tall,

By Almanac Staff

Hi, John. At three feet tall, it should be time to harvest the Brussels Sprouts heads from the lower stem. The sprouts mature best in light frosty weather, ideally sunny days with frosts at night.
Though Brussels Sprouts love light frost, they can not withstand a hard freeze and need to be harvested before a freeze. As winter nears, you can fool the sprouts into maturing all at once by cutting off the top of the plant about 3 weeks before you want to harvest.

I had great luck growing

By Phannie Mae

I had great luck growing broccoli here in Md, my 1st year as a gardener some time ago. I am interested in trying a fall crop of Broccoli and Brussel sprouts. My soil is somewhat naturally acid but amending an area for the Brussels to get it on the neutral side may be asking alot, any suggestions for a small raised bed (5x12)garden.

Brussels sprouts do not like

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts do not like acidic soil. Before deciding to raise or lower your soil's pH, you should first conduct a soil test. This is required to guide all of your planting. Contact your local county Extension office as they often conduct free soil tests or can point you in the right direction. They'll probably recommend that you add lime to your soil. In the meantime, if you want to go for fall planting ,we'd just add plenty of organic matter and most veggies should do fine. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans and onions will all grow in acidic soil.

my brussel sprouts are leafy

By audrey boe

my brussel sprouts are leafy and loose. not solid as they should be. like they arent forming completely. what do i need to do to get them to grow right?

This is a common problem if

By Almanac Staff

This is a common problem if the sprouts develop in hot weather. It might just be too warm in your areal; they do not like temps above 70 degrees. We are not sure where you live but you may need to plant them later in the summer/early fall or earlier in the spring.

Can you freeze brusell

By cindy barker

Can you freeze
brusell spouts?

Yes, you can certainly freeze

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can certainly freeze Brussels sprouts. Just take off some of the courser outer leaves, wash, blanch (in boiling water) for a few minutes depending on size of head, then immediately emerge in cold water to stop the cooking. Dry, seal in baggies that leave no room for air, and put in freezer!

this is my first year of

By Helene Paulin

this is my first year of having a garden and I have big brussel sprouts. When you talk about harvesting do you cut the entire plant or can you cut a few sprouts at a time?
and it seems that I have some in the middle that are larger than ones closer to the ground

I have what I think are

By Michelle Yocum

I have what I think are brussel spouts growing in my garden (at least I planted from seed what I thought are Brussels). I have several very good looking plants but they aren't growing upward stalk style....instead vine like and have little curly tentacles that grab to hold onto whatever is close. Beautiful big leaves that look cabbage like but again very tender looking not at all like what I see in pictures. Any idea what these plants might be or are the very young plants and do I need to stake them to keep stanble.

It sounds like cucumbers to

By christy stills

It sounds like cucumbers to me. Their vines grab on to everything.

You definitely have cucumbers

By Dave B on April 9

You definitely have cucumbers growing it is best if you try and put up a fence 5 to 6 feet tall as the vines will climb the fence and you will have lots of cucumbers growing off the vines

Interesting! We've never seen

By Almanac Staff

Interesting! We've never seen this and can only advise that Brussels sprouts grow well when it's cool and are not typically grown this time of year. We're not sure where you live, but folks generally put in transplants around late March or April for spring crops and in late August or September for fall crops. 

Our Brussels sprouts have a

By sylvia Parker

Our Brussels sprouts have a large green bush almost like a collard plant. There are little sprouts above the leaf. Should I take the leaf off or allow the sprout to grow with the leaf.

We generally do not remove

By Almanac Staff

We generally do not remove leaves because they create the energy for the plant. However, as you harvest the maturing sprouts--which should happen from the bottom of the plant to the top of the plant--you can remove the leaves along the way. The leaves are edible, too! If you get tiny bunches of leaves that look as if they're going to sprout but do not, it may be getting too warm and your plant may be getting ready to go to seed.

I want to know if brussel

By Becky Leaf

I want to know if brussel sprouts come back after winter? I have some new growth. Some looks like it is flowering and some look like baby plants.

Brussels sprouts are a

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts are a biennial (treated as an annual); the plant requires parts of two growing seasons with a cool rest period (winter) in between in order to produce seed. It is possible that yours did not have a long enough growing season last year to allow the sprouts to develop so, after resting in the winter, the plant is entering its second year of growth.

Brussel sprouts

By Anonymous

I live in Southern MN. Could I plant my seeds directly in the ground soon and have a harvest by the first fall frost? (that's if it doesnt snow again)

According to your MN

By Almanac Staff

According to your MN cooperative extension: "For fall crops, start seeds in June for Brussels sprouts. Cole crops are generally transplanted for a summer crop. Start seeds indoors in early April or 4-6 weeks before transplanting. "

collards

By Anonymous

when do they plant collards in in georgia

Collards like cool weather so

By Almanac Staff

Collards like cool weather so early spring plantings are best.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

brussel sprouts

By Gina Suttles

We have beautiful brussel sptout plants big and healthy but no sprouts. What can we do to make them produce sprouts?

Brussels sprouts tips

By Catherine Boeckmann

If you had big plants but no sprouts, did you notice any green worms? The cabbage worms or cabbage loopers? Use BT and floating row covers all season to get ahead of them. Otherwise, was it cool enough during the full 100-day growing period? And did you water a lot?

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