Brussels sprout plants require a fair amount of space in the vegetable garden. The sprouts, which look like mini cabbages, form along the stems under their umbrella-like foliage. Brussels sprouts are a true cold weather vegetable. If your area does not get frost in the winter, then perhaps this one is not for you. Frost improves the flavour of brussel sprouts. This is because the vegetable’s starches are converted to sugars upon freezing. They grow best if they get direct sunshine with shelter from prevailing winds.
Like other brassicas, brussels sprouts, grow best in a well-composted soil that does not hold onto moisture. The soil around your seedlings should be fairly firm. Press it down with a rake after digging. This helps the plants establish strong roots which are needed to support their tall, sprout-encrusted stems. Brussels sprouts grow to about 1/2 a metre in height.
To help retain some soil moisture you can mulch your plants once established. Pull out any weeds which may cause damage to the shallow roots of the sprout plants. Feed lightly once or twice a month with liquid fertiliser. In areas with strong winds, ensure that you stake your plants. As the sprouts mature, the leaves will turn yellow. Remove these leaves as they fade to give sprouts room to develop.
Pick your sprouts by cutting them away from the stem with a knife. Start at the bottom of the stem and work upwards. Regular picking stimulates production of more sprouts and prolongs your harvest.