23. October 2019

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.

En hög kålplanta full med brysselkål längs stammen. Grow Brussels sprouts, a tall plant with plenty of Brussels sprouts

The Brussels sprouts look so lovely! And there's plenty of food on one single plant too.


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.


Read more: Growing winter vegetables


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.


More: Mulching with sheep's wool


En sned stam av brysselkål som ligger över landet. Grow Brussels sprouts, a wonky plant.

The Brussels sprouts plants can go a bit wonky if they don't have any support. I don't usually support all of my plants 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.


More about cabbage: Growing cabbage from sowing to harvest


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


Närbild på stammen med täta huvuden av små brysselkål i grönt.

Remove any leaves or stalks located between the Brussels sprouts. It's a lot easier to harvest your sprouts this way.


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!
/Sara Bäckmo

6 responses to “How to grow Brussels sprouts”

  1. Janice M Hebert says:

    Hello Sara! I have just found (and subscribed) your YouTube channel and now your wonderful blog. I will be sharing them with my daughter who just married and has her first home. She had a small raised bed of tomatoes this past summer that she raised from seed. I think she will enjoy reading about your garden journey. Your Brussels sprouts are amazing! We grew them years ago and this makes me want to grow them again. Such interesting and delicious plants. Looking forward to following along and will definitely be going back to see your prior posts. Jan in MA

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      Thank you Janice for reading the blog! The brussels sprouts really grew fantastic this year and I love them. Hope you can share the interest of gardening with your daughter!

  2. Joy says:

    When you get your sprouts out of the freezer - do you defrost before cooking?
    The reason I ask you say you cut them in half - or do you cut them whilst frozen?
    Thank you.

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      I usually let them defrost for a short while in order to be able to cut them easily. Best of luck! /Sara

  3. Eileen S Johnson says:

    I managed to grow one plant this year, and got baby sprouts, but now they are being eaten off the stalk even though I put a wire fence around it. Might be voles burrowing under the barrier. But I learned much about the plant, so I will definitely try again with more next year. (Also my first year growing fava beans! With the crazy hot/cold/hot spring we had here in Minnesota, US, I had to sow a second time in early June. But I got beans! More of those next year, too.) I started sowing in Feb. in my mini-hoop house inspired by your videos. I had arugula, red kale, spinach, peas, carrots, beets, and blue & yellow potatoes, all in large pots! It is such fun, and tastes good, too.

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