Connecticut Garden Journal: Bravo for Brussels Sprouts | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Garden Journal: Bravo for Brussels Sprouts

Nov 5, 2015

Brussels sprouts can produce right into winter.

The Grandpa Tucker poem below pretty much sums up how many people feel about Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts, Brussels sprouts! Throw the nasty rascal out.
Give us pizza, give us meat. Give us anything that’s sweet.
In the evening how I hate to see you lying on my plate.
You are green and round and wide, which makes you very hard to hide.
And so, with milk, I wash you down. Even then, I gag and frown.
Though you’re good for me, no doubt.
A pox upon thee, O Brussels sprouts!

But I think Brussels sprouts are misunderstood and misused. They have, in fact, become the trendy vegetable at many finer restaurants. When cooked with the right ingredients such as cheese, raisins and nuts, they taste amazing.

The key is to harvest Brussels sprouts now after the cold has turned them from little cabbages to sweet, delectable orbs.

Brussels sprout cultivation dates back to the Romans, but they became popular in Europe, and especially Brussels, in the 1600s.

They’re simple to grow. Plant seedlings of green or red varieties when you would broccoli, in well-drained, compost amended soil. Side-dress monthly with an organic fertilizer and keep the cabbageworms from shredding their leaves by spraying Bacillus thuringiensis.

Brussels sprouts.
Credit John Morgan / Creative Commons

By September you should have three-foot-tall plants with round sprouts forming along the stem. If the sprouts are slow to form, simply cut off the top of the plant so it sends more energy into forming sprouts and less into new growth.

Brussels sprouts can produce right into winter. I've even harvested frozen Brussels sprouts off plants in January and they tasted fine.

Next week I’ll be talking about composting. Until then, I’ll be seeing you in the garden.