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Old January 1, 2009   #1
duajones
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Default Brussels Sprouts

First time grower, dont even know the variety as the local nursery just had them tagged "brussel sprouts" and didnt know what they were. Anyway, they are at the 102 day stage and are in a spot that I will need come Late February. The sprouts on the plants now range from pea to marble size. I have read where you can cut the top off of the plants and the sprouts will mature quicker. Should I do that now or give them another 30 days?
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Old January 1, 2009   #2
hill60
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I'm not an expert by any means. We don't top the plant but remove some of the first bottom sprouts. This seems to promote the growth of the sprouts above them. We harvest from the bottom moving up the plant starting in the fall when temps start to cool right through the winter.

Brussel sprouts are a cool weather veg and tend to struggle with warmer temperatures. We have two plants that are under three feet of snow somewhere in our garden can't find them just now. When we do they will be just fine
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Old January 1, 2009   #3
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Duane, I'd be interested as well in knowing if topping them makes the existing sprouts mature faster. I have had variable success here in Missouri getting mine to mature before the hard freezes strike. One of these days I'll figure out when to plant them out...
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Old January 1, 2009   #4
duajones
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Well, I have 6 plants total, which is plenty since I am the only one here that eats them. 5 in the ground and one in a container. I went ahead and topped off a couple of them today. Will see what the effect is in comparison to the ones that I didnt top off. I sure am looking forward to tasting home grown brussel sprouts. Interestingly, the plants in the ground are a little taller and have more overall sprouts than the one in the container, although the sprouts are a little more developed at this point in the lone container plant.

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Old January 2, 2009   #5
maricybele
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If need be, you can move it to another area until ready. I have moved with sucess becuase some plants can take up a lot of real estate and when they get big, i need to move plants around sometimes. I have a few inpromptu beds near the compost pile.
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Old January 2, 2009   #6
hawks
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first timer here. i am planning on starting to plant brussel sprouts and wondered if from seed makes sense or if it is much more difficult. not sure where i would get plants here in northern VA
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Old January 2, 2009   #7
maricybele
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Mine were from seed. Make sure to mark them, as they are a bit of mystery until a few months later. I had no idea what they were until fall.
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Old January 2, 2009   #8
Rena
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Brussel sprouts need loads of time to be ready to pick. You need to pluck off the bottom leaves. They are very heavy feeders. They get better as time goes on. We ate 7 meals for a family of 5 on just 7 plants.
Here are what mine looked like about 2 weeks ago.

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Old January 2, 2009   #9
Ruth_10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawks View Post
first timer here. i am planning on starting to plant brussel sprouts and wondered if from seed makes sense or if it is much more difficult. not sure where i would get plants here in northern VA

I always start mine from seed. They're no more difficult than cabbage or broccoli. You want Brussel sprouts to mature in cool/cold weather for better flavor, so you have to figure backwards as to when to start seed. I start my seed in the late June-early July time frame, which I think is a little late for here (early June would be better). Even in early June the weather can be quite warm here and the bugs can be fierce, so I start mine indoors (incubator to germinate, then under lights) in the basement, where it is cooler. The times I've seeded directly in the garden the poor young things have gotten chewed up pronto. But your mileage may vary...
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Old February 21, 2011   #10
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-bump-

I have never grown Brussels sprouts and am planning on doing so this year.

I'm looking for variety suggestions and growing tips from anyone that grows them here i.e. how many plants, when to start, fertilizer needs etc. I've also seen seed commercially available for two red varieties, Falstaff and Rubine, which looked particularly appetizing.

I've eaten locally-grown sprouts bought from local farm stands in the past and sometimes they've been very bitter - not sure what causes this but I'd like to avoid it, if it's variety-related. From what I've read so far, they benefit from a frost prior to harvest.

While I don't know much about growing them, I do know how to eat them. I steam mine with French tarragon and then serve them in butter flavored with brown sugar and bacon bits... delicious.
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Old February 21, 2011   #11
biscgolf
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they grow easily from seed- it is very important not to start them too early. as previously noted some cold weather improves the flavor considerably. starting too early also subjects them to mid-summer pests that lessen in the fall.

churchill from johnny's is an easy to grow variety...
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Old February 21, 2011   #12
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I've got some Jade Cross growing right now in 10 gallon containers. I bought them as seedlings in mid December. Boy they are slow growers! Allthough I've noticed they have start to pick it up. I just hope to get some sprouts harvested before any spring heat wave. Here are a couple pics of my Brussel Sprouts.





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Old February 21, 2011   #13
habitat_gardener
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth_10 View Post
...I start my seed in the late June-early July time frame, which I think is a little late for here (early June would be better)....
Similar timing here. I went to a master-gardener demo a couple years ago where the person said she'd finally, through trial and error, figured out that she had to start seeds in July to get the plants big enough before winter. She also said the nurseries don't sell seedlings early enough, so the only way to get a good harvest here is to grow them from seed.

Back when I started my garden, I planted seedlings that didn't produce anything edible, but became wonderful trap plants for aphids
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Old February 21, 2011   #14
tjg911
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i grew bs 2 maybe 3 years then i gave up. bs require an entire season to produce a small crop, a very low product yield vs the space & the time required to produce 1 picking. in the space i'd grow 12 bs plants (i used to grow 12 or 18 depending upon what else i needed space for) i could grow 25 or 30 gonzales cabbage plants. gonzales cabbage tolerate crowding, produce heads that are ~ 3 pounds and mature in 55 days allowing 3 plantings per year. that is a LOT of cabbage! do the math, unless you have a lot of space cabbage vs bs is like an elephant vs a flea re yield volume. another downside to bs is wind, they can be blown down then they curve and are not growing straight and then crowding their fellow bs plants. when i grew bs aphids would show up like crazy! a good blast from the hose cleaned them off but just another issue imo.

bs get sweeter after a few frosts like broccoli, i never picked them before november.

i'm not saying don't grow bs i'm just pointing out that while i like to eat them i find them impractical to grow but my garden is only 1200 sq ft. cabbage yield a lot more food and much easier to harvest.
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Old February 22, 2011   #15
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Once you have eaten home grown Brussels sprouts you will find the store bought ones bitter and inedible. Just don't over cook them no matter how you want to prepare them they are better tasting if you stop the cooking process before they get soft all the way through.

I always grow mine from seed which I start in late summer or very early fall indoors in the air conditioning. The seed do not germinate well in hot temps. Keep them in the air conditioning until the temps drop a little then move them outside. They are slow growing compared to things like broccoli and cabbage so don't give up on them because they are being outpaced by the other plants. When they get about 5 to 6 inches tall I put them out in the garden leaving about 2 feet between plants in very heavily amended soil. They need a lot of fertilizer. I try to give them a dose of Miracle grow with some household ammonia added to the liquid solution every two weeks. If they are not given enough fertilizer they grow way too slow and don't get big enough to produce heavily in the early spring.

I also start removing some of the lower leaves as soon as I see sprouts forming but don't pinch out the top until about two weeks before the warm weather arrives. Frequently they will benefit from staking them when they are about a foot tall to ensure they grow upright.

I have found a variety that works well for me in our warm winters called Bubbles. The only place I have found it is Reimer Seeds. It is smaller than many other varieties and makes much earlier than any other variety I have tried. They usually get no larger than 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall and the sprouts are not as big as most other varieties. The upside is they are much sweeter and they are much faster producers than the others. They also don't take up nearly as much garden space. Since Bubbles Brussels sprouts are quick producers I try to stagger my plants so that I have a couple of plantings at different stages. The reason for that is with our uncertain winters and sometimes very early springs and very late falls it is almost impossible to time setting them out at the ideal time. I have found that every year is different and instead of being frustrated by timing them wrong I try to increase the odds with the staggering.
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