Many rented premises ban you from cooking them, kids hate them but they are still obligitory when it comes to the annual Christmas dinner - yes I'm talking about the humble brussels sprouts. Sprouts come in two varieties:
- F,Hyrid - offers compact growth and produces a large number of uniform buttons.
- Standard - produces larger sprouts and are full of flavour though they are prone to blowing (sprouts open out).
These plants prefer a sunny position which is sheltered from wind. Seedlings should be planted about 3" apart and are ready for transplanting once they are around 5" high. Plants should be planted out with their lower leaves just above ground level and planted at least 21/2 foot apart. Ensure that you water the ground a day before planting and again once the plants have been planted out.
Birds - namely pigeons and sparrows - are the bigest problem. Sparrows will try to eat the seedlings and pigeons will be attracted to the mature crop. Cover with netting to prevent any damage from birds. Caterpillars and aphids can also be a problem to both the seedlings and mature plants. Earthing up (building the soil up around the plant) and providing a stake to support the taller varieties will keep the plant stable in the ground and help prevent the plant from producing loose leaf sprouts which have very little favour.
Sprouts are best picked once they are the size of a walnut. You can snap them off by pulling down sharply or you can use a sharp knife to remove them working your way up the plant and not down. It is best to stagger the removal of the sprouts to prevent too much damage.
- To avoid loose open sprouts the ground around the plants must be firm and include humus.
- The foliage at the top of the stem can be used as cabbage.
- Compost the woody stem once all the sprouts have been removed.
Last Modified on: 05-12-2018