Your easy guide to Growing Organic Brussels Sprouts is here! If you want to put your growing knowledge techniques to the test and love brussels sprouts, this is a sign that you should go right ahead! But if you’re feeling a little lost, there’s no shame in asking for a little help; with our beginner’s guide to growing organic brussels sprouts, you’ll notice there is nothing simpler than growing organic.
Growing brussels sprouts for nutrition is a fantastic plan as they contain lots of Vitamins A and C, folic acid, and dietary fiber. Organic brussels sprouts are in the same family as cabbage; they even look like miniature cabbages. When grown fresh, these beautiful plants produce sweet and uniquely textured sprouts that are delicious, brazed, or grilled.
You may feel a little overwhelmed when you are a beginner, this is completely normal, and you have nothing to worry about. Actually, brussels sprouts are simple to grow at home; however, there are essential steps you need to take and the tools you’ll need to grow your plants at home. Keep reading and learn everything you need to know to grow organic brussels sprouts.
A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Organic Brussels Sprouts
Get to know about the different factors to growing organic Brussels sprouts successfully at home.
Step 1: Soil prep
Soil should be rich with organic material but loose enough to work with. Add a mixture of one part compost and one part sand to keep the soil rich and well-drained. Like broccoli, brussels sprouts are prone to a disease called clubroot.
Step 2: Fertilize
Brussels sprouts require nitrogen-rich fertilizer. It feeds twice a season to encourage the leaf growth needed to collect nutrients through photosynthesis. Brussels sprouts are extremely intense feeders and require more attention in this area.
Step 3: Ph Levels
Alkaline soil is best for growing Brussel sprouts. 7-7.5 on an acidity test.
Step 4: Sunlight
Brussels sprouts need 5-7 hours of daily sun. The more sun your brussels sprouts get, the bigger the leaves will grow and the more sprouts it will produce. Full sun is essential for the growth of the sprouts after the defoliation process when there are fewer leaves to collect energy.
Step 5: Water
Generally a 1/2 gallon or 1 inch of water per week for most climates, but the plant requires adequate soil moisture to begin with. Provide plants with consistent water for faster growth.
Step 6: Spacing
If Brussel sprouts are planted too close together, they will be in danger of rotting because of a lack of airflow. Space them 10-11 inches apart to give enough room to develop large leaves. This will also give you more space to harvest when the time comes.
Step 7: Temperature
This cold-weather crop will germinate at any temperature from 45-85 degrees F. Brussels sprouts can be harvested well into December in northern climates because of their tolerance to cold temperatures.
Step 8: Harvesting
110-130 days to maturity. As the season progresses, sprouts will begin to form at the bottom of the plant first. Once the leaves begin to turn a little yellow, shock the plant by breaking them off. Break about half an inch away from the base of the plant to prevent damaging it. This gives the sprouts more room to double in size during their development. This process is known as defoliation.
- Harvesting individual sprouts: If you’re not harvesting the entire plant, begin by picking the most mature sprouts at the bottom of the stalk. The top sprouts will continue to grow. Breaking off or clipping the leaf just below each sprout makes it easier to harvest. To remove the sprout, twist and pull. It should break off easily. You can also slice them off with a knife.
- Harvesting the entire stalk: Once most of the sprouts on the stalk have reached a uniform size, you can cut the entire stem because the stalks can be hard to cut with hand pruners. They make quick work of cutting down the thick stalks.
Their unique sap groove makes cutting smooth and stops the blades from sticking together, ensuring you won’t get any blisters or hand fatigue as with other clippers.
The German String allows for precise, strong cuts, while the Non-Slip Rubber Handles are ergonomic and comfortable to hold even in small hands.
You won’t get just a garden pruner for roses, but also a tree trimmer and a clipper for all your pruning tasks.
- Non-Slip Rubber Handles
- Safety lock mechanism
- SK-5 High Carbon Steel Design
Where to buy Organic Brussels sprouts seeds?
The most well-known compact Brussels sprout with hefty yields. A workhorse variety that produces very flavorful sprouts.
This compact, 24″ tall plant yields 75-100 dark green, 1-2″ sprouts over a long period, and this variety is a great freezing variety for long storage.
- Brassica oleracea
- Open-pollinated, heirloom, untreated
Striking red-purple obovate-shaped buttons. Firm well-filled sprouts with a unique mild taste. Firm, uniform, and attractive sprouts hold well on the stalk for whole-stalk harvest.
Medium-size sprouts. David’s Garden Seeds is a Veteran owned business that has been providing quality seeds since 2009.
- Harvest in about 140 days
- Seeds are Non-GMO
- Heavy crops of excellent quality hold up well in fields
- Germination rate about 80%
Common Questions About Growing Organic Brussels Sprouts
When to plant organic Brussels sprouts?
In warmer climate areas, Brussels sprouts are planted mid-summer for a fall harvest as they prefer to be harvested in cooler fall weather. Brussels sprout seeds are planted in the spring for a fall harvest but must be started indoors four weeks before the last frost date.
When you transplant the sprouts to your garden, plant them two feet apart in rows set three feet apart. Brussels sprouts go through a couple of frosts; the cold temps bring out the sweet flavor, somewhat like apples. For more information about harvesting Brussel sprouts, check out our article on How to Harvest Brussel Sprouts
Where to plant organic Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts require full sun, at least 8 hours daily, with minimal shade. Plant Brussels sprouts in areas with no family members for at least 2 or 3 years. Family members include cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and cauliflower, to name a few.
Brussels sprouts prefer well-draining soil rich in organic matter and high in nitrogen which can be provided using generous amounts of compost and/or composted manure.
What organic Brussels sprouts craves?
- Brussels sprouts require about an inch of water weekly, sometimes 2 if it’s boiling and dry. If you’ve mulched, though, you won’t likely need to water more than an inch even when it’s hot, as the mulch will keep the moisture from evaporating.
- Drip irrigation is almost always superior to overhead watering, but if you can’t afford to use drip irrigation, water in the morning so the plants can dry out by noon or so.
- When you do water, water enough to soak the soil at least 6 inches into the ground as light watering has very little value to the sprouts. Too much fluctuation in soil moisture will result in the sprouts splitting or becoming bitter.
When to harvest Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are the best between 1 and 1.5 inches in diameter but are good up to 2 inches in diameter.
It is best to wait until after a good frost in the fall to harvest; a frost brings out the flavor in the sprouts.
The sprouts will mature from the bottom up, producing many sprouts per plant.
Give each sprout a sharp twist to remove from the plant. Or, pull the entire plant up and move it to a cool, dark, and dry storage area and pluck the sprouts as needed.
How to store Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts will store decently in the fridge for about a week, or if you can store them at 32°F, they’ll store for 3 to 5 weeks.
You can store them in a root cellar or similar by pulling up the plants and leaving the sprouts intact on the plants. You can also blanch Brussels sprouts and freeze them.
What can you do about pests and diseases?
- Flea Beatles are tiny beetles – about 1/16th to 1/8 inch long – chew small round holes in leaves.
To prevent flea beetles from getting out of control, keep your garden area free of weeds and debris. Early in the season, use row covers to protect your plants up until flowering.
- Cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and diamondback moths feed on seedlings of cabbage family crops. Hand-picking these caterpillars are effective in most gardens. Dropping them into a bucket of soapy water will drown them. Dusting your plants with diatomaceous earth (DE) can also eradicate these pests, but the powder must be dry to work.
- Aphids are another pest that attacks cabbage family plants such as Brussels sprouts. You can use insecticidal soaps or high-pressure water sprays on them to knock them off your plants.
DE has also been notable in ridding gardens of aphids.
What are the Brussels sprouts varieties?
- Hestia: Produces strong, upright plants and an early harvest. The bright green sprouts grow about an inch across.
- Long Island Improved: This standard variety grows up to two feet tall and produces a good crop of one-inch diameter sprouts.
- Diablo: A variety that forms two-foot tall plants with stalks well covered in medium-sized sprouts. It’s also disease-resistant.
- Jade Cross: The award-winning Jade Cross is relatively early to mature with the crunchy sprouts produced on two-and-a-half-foot tall stalks.
- Falstaff: This is a gorgeous red variety; the plants have dusky purple stalks and stems with deep green leaves. The sprouts are the same reddish-purple, adding a bold color to winter meals.