r Brussels Sprout Growing | Florida Organic Farming

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2 Brussels Sprout Growing

brussel sprouts plants
Falstaff Brussel Sprouts

Although Brussels sprouts are slow growing, they are long-bearing crop that require cool weather. This crop can grow well on Pacific Northwest due to the favorable climatic conditions found in the area. This is the reason there is caution that having your sprouts maturing during dry or hot weather makes them undesirable for food. They end up tasting bitter. In Florida this translates to; only grow in winter.

When growing Brussels sprouts, you need to put into consideration that the plant will need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight on a daily basis. If you can expose your crops to more sunlight daily, it will be even better. When growing the crop in my garden, I had to ensure that the soil was well drained, moist, and fertile and had plenty of organic matter. It took a while to actually come up from planting, not sure if was because the soil was still too warm but it took a month to see them.

 I am not a strict believer in pH levels being in tight ranges but it is recommended that the soil pH should be about 6.8 to avoid club root disease and ensure optimum growth. When you are not sure of the pH level of the soil in your farm or garden, you can buy a test kit that will help you to determine soil pH. Alternatively, you can take some soil sample to your regional Cooperative Extension office to have the test carried out. In the absence of the test, you can add plenty of compost manure, cottonseed meal, or blood meal, as they are rich in nitrogen. Boron is very important for Brussels sprouts. Plenty of it ensures that the crop does not develop small buds and hollow stems. You need not add too much boron, as it will end up causing problems. If you have had experience that leads you to believe pH matters a lot, go the extra step. But never go without the organic fertilizer, and make sure to add kelp meal or something like it to get all those trace minerals.

When setting out your transplants, you need to set the rows 30 inches apart. This is due to that fact that the crop usually sprouts and get large. When you do this, the crop gets enough space to develop to full maturity. I found that sitting the transplants around before planting is bad since they end up stunted in the pack and some dry out.

The variety I am growing is Falstaff Brussels Sprouts, which are purple not green and take just a bit longer than more traditional varieties. The Falstaff variety of brussel sprouts are said to be nutty in flavor, which I am excited to try. They should be ready for picking by the end of February. Yield should be around 80 sprouts per plant.


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