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     Growing Brussels Sprouts                                                           <<Back to Vegetable Ward

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The humble Brussels Sprout, hated by children, cooked to a mushy pulp by cooks, a most abused vegetable both verbally and physically. But when grown and cooked properly, a vegetable fit for a King. The Brussels sprout is a biennial grown as an annual, and they very in height from 14in to 30in with a spread of some 20in; they are divided by their time of maturity, early season, mid-season and late-season.
 Preparing the Soil
They are a cool season crop and can survive temperatures as low as 10-C ( 14 F ) if sown in succession they provide  a crop from early Autumn to late spring, the main reason for failure is planting in loose infertile soil, the soil must be firm and have been supplied with an adequate supply of humus, dig in autumn working in manure or compost, lime in winter if the ground is acid, in the spring give a dressing of general purpose fertiliser , Don't fork over the surface before planting the seedlings, just tread down lightly and rake of any rubbish.
 Sowing & Planting
Sow in a seedbed & thin to 3in apart, with 6in between rows. Or alternatively  I sow in pans & transplant to 2in pots. Which ever method you use plant them out when they are 4-6in high, planting them firmly ( I plant into trenches made with a hart hoe, 4-6in deep, this makes them easy to water in the early stages, and as you hoe, the soil fills in the trench giving the plants a deep rooted hold on the soil. )  Foliar feed as Brussels Sprouts respond well to this, and spray with Permethrin to keep down pests.
 Harvesting
Begin picking the crop when the sprouts are the size of a walnut and are tightly closed, snap the off with sharp downwards tug or use a sharp knife to remove them. Work from the bottom of the plant, only removing a few off each plant and at the same time remove any yellowing leaves or blown sprouts. When you have removed all the sprouts, cut off the top and cook as cabbage.

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