How to grow Brussels sprouts
I just can't wait to start harvesting my bright green Brussels sprouts! This is how I grow Brussels sprouts at home in my kitchen garden.
I'm so excited! I didn't have any Brussels sprouts at all last year and I almost forgot about how much I love this bright green vegetable. It tastes so much better when you grow it yourself too! The difference is huge.
The Brussels sprouts I buy in the supermarket either don't taste much at all, or have a strangely sharp flavor, which almost makes them inedible. Homegrown Brussels sprouts are completely different though. They are simply magic! A lovely cabbage flavor coupled with a hint of sweetness when you cook them.
Winter-sown Brussels sprouts
These plants started their journey last winter. I sow almost all of my cabbage during this time of the year. I do it in troughs filled with soil, and I leave them outside until the seeds start to germinate. The plants require very little and grow nice and chubby in no time. If you haven't tried winter sowing cabbage before, I really recommend that you do it now! This will save you plenty of space indoors, which means that you can grow a few more varieties if you want to. Fun! There's plenty of information about winter sowing here on my blog. Just search for winter sowing to learn more.
This is what the cabbage section of my garden looked like this year. The Brussels sprouts are on the left side of the frame:
Covering with mulch
I decided to mulch all of my cabbages with regular mulch and wool. This practice has helped me immensely during the dry spells, especially when I paired the wool with a drip hose underneath. Actually, I didn't have to water my beds more than around 10 minutes every week even during the dry spells. The mulch helps keep the soil so nice and healthy.
It might also be a good idea to give the plants some extra protection against cabbage moths. I haven't been able to keep the net on all the time though, I have admittedly been a bit sloppy. But as you can see, the plants are still doing really well. The slugs have been the biggest problem so far.
The nets are still outside, even though it's fall now. I'm planning on putting them back over my plants soon though. It won't be long until we have roe deer and moose on our doorstep after all. It only takes a few frosty nights, and then I hear them stomping around the house late at night. Putting a net over the cabbages really helps though.
Takes long to grow
The Brussels sprouts take quite a long time to grow. After all, the plants are supposed to grow large and then the sprouts develop along the stalk. They can be quite small at the end of summer, but they grow quickly in fall. The plants are very cold-resistant, but they might rot if they freeze and thaw over and over. My plan is to harvest the largest ones first and either cook or freeze them. I always parboil my Brussels sprouts for a minute or so before putting them in the freezer.
I harvested around 0.5 gallons of Brussels sprouts recently and I felt so pleased with my results! My kids and I had cream-braised sprouts, kale, and leek together with organic pork, spaghetti and plenty of fresh vegetables. I just couldn't stop eating!
We have plenty of cabbage leaves in the garden now, so I decided to leave the Brussels sprout leaves alone for now. But it's a very tasty part of the cabbage though! Try to harvest a few leaves and use them instead of kale. You can do the same thing with broccoli and cauliflower.
Cream-braised Brussels sprouts
- cut the vegetables
- pan-fry in butter until the sprouts get a little color
- add cream and let it simmer for a bit
- season with salt and add more cream
- the Brussels sprouts are ready when slightly soft, but a little bite still remains
I want to grow Brussels sprouts next year too, and even more, than I did this season! It would be fun to experiment with only red varieties too. Simply for aesthetic reasons. This is something I should probably write down in my Gardening Calendar, I just keep forgetting to look for seeds for next year if I don't. There are plenty of red Brussels sprout varieties that look absolutely beautiful in the garden. For example the variety Rubine. The red sprouts lose their beautiful color when you cook them though, but that's ok.
What do you think about Brussels sprouts? I know that some people dislike the taste and others don't seem to have much success growing them at home. Let me know what you think about them in the comment section below!