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How to grow brussels sprouts

Brussels sprout is a group of wild cabbage with its small leafy green buds resembles miniature cabbages. They are a slow growing vegetable that are not frost and provide a good crop in winter.

The Brussels sprouts are a cool weather crop that grows best at around 60 to 65 F. They grow very well in temperatures up to 75 F. Higher temperatures will cause the sprouts to open up and lose their firmness.

Warm weather will cause the Brussels sprout flavor be more intense.

Here is the guide to grow Brussels sprouts:

1) Soil Preparation

Prepare suitable soils. Brussels sprouts grow well in drained but moisture retaining soil. They should not be planted in soil which has had other cabbage group plants such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, kale, and cauliflowers that grown in it within at least the last 2 years.
Plow some organic compost into the soil a few weeks ahead of planting to help the soils moisture retention properties.

2) Sowing

Sow Brussels sprout seeds in seed pots within mid spring to late summer. Germination takes about 3 to10 days and with temperature above 50 F. You should make proper plan timing for sowing to make sure your seedlings are planted out about 3 months before the first frost.

3) Planting

When the seedlings are about 5 to 6 weeks old and about 6 inches in height, plant them out. Plant the seedlings about 15 inches apart and if planting in rows then space the rows about 30 - 35 inches. Remember to apply fertilizer and water at the time of planting.

4) Maintaining

The Brussels sprout plants need a large amount of water but do not like standing water. Lighter soils will require more frequent watering than heavier soils. Ensure to water the crop adequately during the growing season.

As the plants require food for growth and sprout development, nitrogen fertilizer should be applied to the soil every 3 weeks through the growing season.

To have better result, take out the growing tip of the plant about a month before the harvesting date as the plant will divert energy from leaf growth into developing the Brussels sprouts.

5) Pest Management

- Weeds

Brussels sprouts are a long season crop and weeds can be a serious problem. They have a shallow root system and so care must be taken not to damage the roots when maintaining the soil and weeds. It is suggested to use chemical supplement cultivation to control of grasses and weeds. If cultivation is used, it should be shallow about 3 inches or less to avoid root damage.

- Insects

A rigid control program will be necessary and the program must be started early to avoid any diseases.

6) Harvesting

The Brussels sprouts can be harvested around 3 months after planting. The sprout is form in the leaf axils. Pick or cut the sprout off the stem and remove any loose leaves from the sprout when they are about 1 inch in diameter or as soon as the lower leaves on the plant start to yellow. Keep the sprouts in a cool dark place. The Brussels sprouts taste best when they are fresh.

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