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Zones A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
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Moderate

Brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts
Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
Annuals, Vegetables

A cabbage relative of unusual appearance. Mature plant has crown of fairly large leaves, and its tall stem is completely covered with small sprouts. It is fairly easy to grow where summers are not too hot, long, or dry.

‘Jade Cross Hybrid’ is the most heat tolerant; ‘Valiant’ has excellent flavor. ‘Prince Marvel’ is the earliest to harvest in Alaska. You may have to grow your own from seed. In cold-winter climates, set out seedlings you start yourself or nursery transplants in spring for summer-to-fall harvest; in mild-winter areas, plant in late summer and fall for winter-to-spring production.

A good guide to planting time parallels the availability of broccoli seedlings in nurseries. They are ready to be planted in 4 to 6 weeks from sowing. One pack of seed will produce too many plants for even the largest home garden, so save surplus seed for later plantings. A dozen plants will supply a family.

Space plants 1 1/2–2 ft. apart in rows and leave 3 ft. between rows. Keep plants growing vigorously with regular deep irrigation during dry periods and one or two feedings of commercial fertilizer before heads start to form.

To prevent soil-borne pest buildup, plant in different site each year. Row covers will protect plants from some pests such as aphids, cabbage loopers, imported cabbageworms, and root maggots. Alternatively, prevent root maggots by ringing base of plant with a tar-paper collar; or cover with a cone fashioned from window screen. Collars made from paper cups or metal cans (with ends removed) also deter cutworms, which chew seedlings off at the base. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can be applied to control young larvae of cabbageworms and loopers on plants.

When big leaves start to yellow, begin picking. Snap off little sprouts from bottom first—best when slightly smaller than a golf ball. Leave little sprouts on the upper stem to mature. After picking, remove only leaves below harvested sprouts. A single plant will yield from 50 to 100 sprouts.

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