An Ultimate Guide On Harvesting Brussels Sprouts For A Bountiful Crop

You must have surely come across several lip-smacking dishes of the very popular Brussels sprouts. They are very hard to earn delicacy though as they grow very slowly. However, if you are patient enough, you can get ready for harvesting Brussels sprouts at home with our help.

Let us now give you all info for cultivating a bountiful Brussels crop.

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About Brussel plant

The plant is said to have been very popular in the cuisine culture of Ancient Rome back in the 16th century too. With the scientific name ‘Brassica oleracea’, Brussels shares the same family with the Cabbage.

The plant is considered to have originated in the Mediterranean region and is widely grown throughout North American and Europe. It has a rich nutritional value as it contains plenty amount of vitamins like K, C, and A, manganese, carbohydrates, proteins, and dietary fibers. The sprouts are mostly consumed when cooked and they give the best flavor when young.

Some of the plant varieties excellent for cultivation are-

  • Catskill
  • Jade cross
  • Long islands
  • Bubbles
  • Rubine Red
  • Tasty nuggets
  • Seven Hills
  • Valiant
  • Royal Marvel

Growing conditions for Brussels

These are some of the essential conditions that are required to support the various brussel sprouts growing stages.

  • The perfect soil medium for the good growth of Brussels sprouts has to be slightly alkaline. The pH of the soil must be a minimum of 6.5 and can be higher too. Moist, well-drained, and fertile soil is the best base for the plant to grow which can be enriched further by adding organic matter.
  • You can apply fertilizers to the plant two times in any season only after it has crossed the height of 12 inches. Their nitrogen requirements are very less. Some Brussels plants also need Boron fertilizer for better growth.
  • Full sun makes the harvest amazing and the plant must have nearly 6 hours of sunlight intake daily. The plant doesn’t go very well with the shade as it affects its maturity.
  • The plant needs a temperature of approximately 45-75 degrees around to thrive nicely. Light frost only improves the flavor of the crop and they can tolerate low temperatures for some days. This is also called Cold sweetening.
  • The crop is not meant for a warm environment as it makes the harvest bitter.
  • The soil has only to be enough moist and not water clogged. You must only give 1-1.5 inches of water to the plant in a week. Water the plants regularly though.

Time for planting the crop

Depending upon the region, you need to plant crops at different times-

  • In regions with a warm climate, plant the crop during the frost.
  • In regions with a cold climate, indoor seed starting is preferable that can be moved out when the frost is gone.

Let’s see some other tips for devising plantation timing-

  • The Autumn season after the first fall is the ideal time to start the crop so that harvest occurs in cool weather. Do the required calculation to arrange this timing.
  • Brussels seeds can be sown directly 10-12 weeks before the first fall expected.
  • For starting seeds indoors, plant them in early April and transplant them in May.
  • The maturity time depends upon the type of plantation: 100-110 days for directly sown seeds and 80-90 days for indoor started seeds.

Right way of planting

For harvesting brussel sprouts, some pre-planning is needed and this involves proper planting of the plant at an appropriate location. Let us tell you how to do it:

  • The soil must not be compact but just gently firm. You can pat down the soil lightly before planting the crop. Choose a heavy soil medium.
  • Sow the seeds at depth of quarter to half inches and 24-30 inches apart.
  • For container plantation, choose deep containers.
  • 1-2 plants per person will give you ample produce.
  • Change the location after two growth years.

Method of harvesting Brussels sprouts

This is the most delightful part of the entire process as the cultivator finally gets to take the fruit. One plant of Brussels produces around 100 sprouts in 2-3 months on an average. There are two essentials to this process- when and how?

harvesting Brussels sprouts

When to start the harvest

Fall is the best time to harvest Brussels sprouts when few touches of frost have already smothered the plant. The sugar production improves as a result of it and that turns to protect the plant from cold damage. The maturity period of the plant is very long and so you have to be patient as not to start plucking the sprouts at the wrong time.

It is not necessary to harvest the entire crop at once. Pluck out the sprout that has grown and let the others grow. There is no limit to harvesting until the summers come up and then the buds will automatically cease to form.

The buds which are yellowing and slightly opened are the best ones to start picking with. When the buds turn bright green and firm with a size of about 1-1.5 inches, they give the best nutrients and flavor.

How to go about the harvest

After the passage of 80 days since planting, check the crop for matured Brussels sprouts.

The buds follow the bottom-top path when it comes to maturing. This means that the sprouts at the bottom will mature first. Start picking from the bottom and go up as whatever bud you find to be fully grown.

If you are thinking to let all the buds grow together and harvest them in a single go, then look for the stalk that has all matured sprouts. You can either pull this stalk out completely by holding from its top or cut it out by removing all the length as close as it can be to ground. Then you just have to cut or twist the sprouts out from the stalk.

Remember to remove the lower leaves of the picked sprouts as this encourages further growth of new buds. The buds continue to grow until the temperature becomes too low.

The matured sprouts can survive on the plant during frost too. However, you may bury the plant in a straw up till the highest leaves to prevent hard freeze damage. You can harvest the entire harvest and safely store them if you experience constantly dropping temperatures in your region.

Storing the Brussels crop

It is a very important step after harvesting Brussels sprouts as the hard-grown harvests contain your patience and efforts which you wouldn’t want to get wasted. Here are some tips:

  • Store them in controlled moist and cold conditions with 32-40 degree temperatures and 95% humidity.
  • You can either store the entire stalk or individually picked sprouts wrapped in a moist cloth. Refrigeration can also be done.
  • You can also take the plants in during cold and then enjoy the harvest for some time more.

Basic care tips

Take note of these:

  • Pruning can do wonders for the crop.  Removing lower leaves, topping or tip cutting, and other tactics come a long way in giving great sprouts and keeping the plant healthy.
  • Pest and disease protection is a very important aspect. Harlequin bags, moth, cutworms, cabbage loopers, maggots, webworms, aphids, rust, mildew, blackleg, clubroot, blackroot, etc. are all potential damage causers to the crop that you have to keep away through constant monitoring and crop rotation.
  • Overwintering is a process that aims at prolonging the harvest during deep freezes. You can heavily mulch the crop that protects it from damage and keeps it ready for harvest during the spring.
  • Stakes must be planted to support plants as they grow heavy with sprouts.
  • Cutworm collars can be kept around young seedlings.

Conclusion

We are pretty sure that these tips for harvesting Brussels sprouts are going to give you a crop that will last for an entire year. Growing any vegetable all by yourself is an amazing process enriched with satisfaction. Experience it with this guide and eat your favorite Brussels dishes.

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