Undoubtedly the Marmite of the vegetable world – you either love sprouts or you hate them. Our opinion is often based on the experience of eating them in childhood, but nowadays there are so many alternatives – it's worth trying some new varieties. Modern hybrids produce firm, tight buttons which stay in good condition on the plant for many weeks, and much breeding work has been done to improve the flavour of this nutritious and easy-to-grow vegetable. Brussels sprouts do best in firm ground which has not been freshly manured. They benefit from a general purpose fertiliser hoed into the soil just before planting and the application of a high-nitrogen top dressing applied in late summer to help see them through their long growing season.
How to Sow and Grow Brussels Sprouts
Sow outdoors thinly in a seed bed, 1.5cm(½in) deep directly into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Seedlings usually appear in 14-21 days. Water well until plants are established. Transplant 60cm(2ft) apart both ways when seedlings are about 10cm(10in) tall. Plant firmly and water well. Sow indoors 0.5cm(¼in) deep in a tray of compost. Water well and place in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Keep moist. Transplant 5cm(2in) apart to other trays when large enough to handle. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts), before planting out. Use Cabbage Collars around the base of the seedlings if cabbage root fly is a problem and protect from birds. Apply a foliar feed in early summer and stake plants in the winter to protect from high winds.
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