What’s the deal with Brussels Sprouts?


Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Garden Ramblings | Posted on 04-04-2011

Question: Peter, please tell me”How and When” I can grow brussel sprouts!   I consider myself reasonably intelligent, but some seed pkgs. are so confusing.  No two seem to say the same.   Help….thanks Peter.  Carol – Lakewood, WA 

Answer: Well you know Cisco isn’t the only garden communicator who likes Brussels Sprouts! We like to cut them in half and pan roast them.  Simple answer to your question is to plant them like their brassica kin – cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (they are actually the same species of plant and distinct subspecies due to man’s selection of them over the centuries).  The reason for the seemingly varying information is two-fold.  There are early, mid and late season varieties of Brussels Sprouts and they can be grown as a spring or fall crop.  They prefer cool weather and often taste best when they mature in the fall and receive a frost (the starches in the leaves turn to sugar to provide frost protection – like antifreeze) as they are sweeter.  So they could all be started in the spring like the other brassicas and mature sequentially or planted at various times in the summer to coincide with maturation in the fall.  Clear as mud?