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Brussel Sprouts  - Key Growing InformationBrussels sprouts are a nutritious and delicious vegetable that can be a rewarding addition to your garden. This guide will provide you with the best methods to grow Brussels sprouts, including tips on planting, spacing, watering, and choosing the right varieties. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced gardener, these tips will help you achieve a bountiful harvest.

Scientific Name

Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group)

Crop Culture

Brussels sprouts require a long growing season and do best in a cool climate. They prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. It's essential to enrich the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting.

  • Planting Time: Plant Brussels sprouts in early to mid-summer for a harvest that extends into fall or early winter. In areas with mild winters, planting can be delayed for a winter or early spring harvest.


Proper spacing and planting are crucial for healthy Brussels sprout growth.

  • Starting Seeds: Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, then transplant them into the garden when they are 4-6 inches tall and the soil temperature is at least 50°F (10°C).
  • Spacing: Space the plants 18-24 inches apart in rows 30-36 inches apart. This allows each plant enough space to grow and ensures good air circulation, which helps prevent diseases.
  • Watering: Consistent watering is crucial for development, especially as the sprouts begin to form. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mulching helps retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced fertilizer at planting and again when plants are halfway grown.

Soil and Watering

Brussels sprouts prefer well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

  • Soil Preparation: Work compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting to improve fertility.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Watering regularly helps prevent bolting (premature flowering) and ensures even plant development. Mulching can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Recommended Varieties

Choosing the right variety can enhance your growing experience and yield. Here are some Brussels sprout varieties that are good for solving common problems and avoiding diseases:

Variety Description Benefits
'Crispus F1' High yield, disease-resistant, and good flavor Resistant to clubroot, reliable performer
'Evesham Special' Traditional variety with large, firm sprouts Good flavor, reliable yields
'Red Ball' Attractive red sprouts with a sweet flavor High in antioxidants, unique appearance

Preventing Common Problems

Certain varieties and cultivation methods can help prevent or reduce common problems associated with growing Brussels sprouts.

  • Avoiding Bolting: Choose bolt-resistant varieties like 'Crispus F1' and ensure consistent moisture levels. Avoid stress conditions such as irregular watering and extreme temperatures.
  • Pest Control: Common issues include cabbage worms, aphids, and powdery mildew. Use organic insecticides or introduce beneficial insects to keep pest populations under control.
  • Disease Management: Practice crop rotation and ensure good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases like downy mildew and clubroot. Regular inspections and organic or chemical treatments can manage these problems. Maintaining clean growing conditions is vital to prevent disease.

Ideal Sowing and Harvesting Times for the UK

To ensure your Brussels sprouts are ready for a Christmas harvest in the UK, follow these guidelines:

  • Sowing Time: Sow seeds indoors in March or April. Transplant seedlings outdoors in late May to early June.
  • Harvest Time: Brussels sprouts mature in about 26-31 weeks. Harvesting typically starts in late October and can continue through December.

If your harvest is earlier than expected, here are some ways to store your Brussels sprouts for Christmas:

  • Short-Term Storage: Store sprouts on the stalk in a cool, dark place like a garage or shed. They can last for several weeks this way.
  • Refrigeration: Harvested sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freezing: Blanch sprouts in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, cool them quickly in ice water, drain, and freeze. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Harvesting Brussels Sprouts

Knowing when and how to harvest Brussels sprouts is crucial for the best flavor and yield.

  • Harvest Time: Brussels sprouts are ready to harvest when the heads are firm, green, and 1-2 inches in diameter.
  • Signs of Readiness: The sprouts should be tightly packed and firm. They should snap off easily from the stalk when they are ready.
  • Harvesting Method: Harvest from the bottom of the stalk upwards, removing the sprouts by twisting them off. For improved flavor, wait until after the first frost to begin harvesting.

Storage and Preservation

  • Short-Term Storage: Brussels sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
  • Long-Term Storage: For longer storage, they can be blanched for 3-5 minutes, cooled in ice water, drained, and then frozen. They can also be pickled or fermented for an extended shelf life.

Growing Brussels Sprouts in Containers

Brussels sprouts can also be grown successfully in containers, making them perfect for small spaces such as balconies.

  • Container Size: Use a pot that is at least 30 cm in diameter and depth.
  • Soil: Use a high-quality potting mix enriched with compost.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist and ensure the container has good drainage.

By following these guidelines and choosing the right varieties, you can enjoy a plentiful harvest of delicious Brussels sprouts. Whether you have a large garden or just a small balcony, Brussels sprouts are a rewarding and versatile crop to grow.