All about Brussels

All about Brussels – Of the sprouting kind that is, not the sizeable Belgian city.

2012 was the first year I can truly say I grew, picked and ate a proper crop of Brussels Sprouts. Previous years have been hit and miss – stumpy plants, no sprouts, blown sprouts, you name it, but not sprouts. What’s that I hear, a fanfare? Too right! I think I also see a marching band appearing over the horizon too.

As I start to sow next seasons Brussels Sprouts I want to thank a wonderful commenter here on the Promenade – her help was instrumental in my success in growing fantastic fresh home-grown Brussels Sprouts. Between us all we’ve managed to create a great community on the Promenade – lots of stories, laughs and sharing, and now Brussels Sprouts! A truly splendid community! Thank you x

Brussel Sprouts_05_01_13 (1)

The success is the responsibility of a fellow blogger, for sharing her tips on how to grow them. It’s pretty simple but you do need to follow them –

  • Plant the seedlings fairly early – March to April as they need a long time in the ground, in trays either under glass or cloches.
  • The real trick is to plant them in VERY FIRM ground. By firm I mean FIRM. If the ground is recently dug you will need to do the gardeners’ shuffle.

The Gardeners Shuffle –

Haven’t you done the gardener’s shuffle? I can recommend it! All you need are your wellies or a pair of boots (you might also want to wear some other clothes too! – but I’ll leave that up to you). In the area where you plan to plant your Brussels Sprout seedlings start walking over the ground, feet close together, trampling and firming the ground down as you shuffle across the area. Step by step. Alternatively just jump up and down! Seriously this is the best way to prepare the ground. Shuffle and stomp, stomp and shuffle. If you do decide on the jumping technique you could try and keep your arms at your side and pretend you are in a Country dancing troupe wearing a dodgy sparkly dress and not wearing your wellies. Only because it looks funny mind you!

  • When the ground is nice and firm, dig a small hole for the seedling and pop it in, firming the ground around it. It stops all sorts of problems later – particularly wind rock.
  • After that it’s a matter of watering them when it’s dry, I also mulched them with grass clippings so as to keep the water around the plants.
  • The only other stage is to be on pest alert duties – slugs and snails love them, so beer traps are good and netting is a must if you have pigeons around as they love nothing better than fresh green shoots, they will peck your baby sprout plants down to a miserable stump if allowed.

BrusselSprouts (4)For further information the RHS has a fact sheet – and here they recommend planting them out in mid May to early June when the plants” have seven true leaves” – I’ve never seen this advice before and would love to know why 7 and not 5 or 9? Any ideas?

This year I’m trying a couple of varieties the classic Evesham Special and a new to me one called Rubine – a reddish-purple sprout.  Now should I shuffle or jump…….



  • beautiful, so beautiful… I love this vegetable and I love to make a salad with this one, Thanks and Love, nia

  • One of these days, there will be room for brussels sprouts. Until then, I’ll just keep buying them….
    (Angel LOVES them, by the way! How many 3-year-olds can you say that about?)

  • Loving the Gardener’s Shuffle, seriously cracking up! I do believe I will continue to buy these, my favorite veggie, at the local farmers’ market! My green thumb does not work this well.

  • I love shredding them into soups. I’ve not tried growing them myself as Mr Misk thinks they’re a bit iffy. I, however, think they’re sent from heaven. 🙂

  • I have never grown brussels sprouts. Great tips. Maybe I will try this year. We celebrated yesterday as there are 8 new babies poking up through the soil in our container garden. My son and I danced around the pots like crazy…we are always glad to see the new babies pop up their heads.

    • Oh I know that celebratory dance and feeling! It’s a joyous feeling and how wonderful to share the moment with you son – pure happiness !

  • Wow your Brussels spouts are just gorgeous I did not know they grew on the side of the plant like that as always have bought them in the market. I have been looking into the comment issue that you are having on my site. Many people can leave comments so after talking to my IT dude he thinks it might be that you are using an older version of a browser… but will continue to try find a solution for you. BAM

  • I absolutely love Brussels, sadly my hubby won’t even look at them – so sad. My dad is equally as unimpressed with them as my Pete so when Mom and I are together we make up for it by eating Brussels for days on end.
    Kudos on growing your own!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • Good to hear you’ve had success with growing sprouts – hope this year produces a bumper harvest for you! I’m still not sure they’re worth the effort of growing – so I might just enjoy reading about your crop.

    • Practice Joss, practice!
      I was thinking of you yesterday as I tucked into a jar of your beetroot – well not yours but your recipe. delicious!!

  • I really love sprouts, but am the only one in my household…. I can get away with hiding them in dishes occasionally, but sadly growing them would not be worth it just for me. So I will have to just relish the thought of you jumping and shuffling in your vegetable plot… sounds fun!

  • Your garden must be an amazing source of inspiration when it starts producing jewels like these. I’m going to stick with buying mine at the grocery store/farmer’s market though. This is definitely going to be the year that I try brussel sprouts though. The ‘cabbage’ flavour shouldn’t be off-putting now that I’ve desensitized myself to it with bok choy and regular cabbage. 🙂 I just need the perfect recipe. Preferably something with … bacon.

  • Well done you on a fantastic crop. They’re such neautiful veggies too. Big Man is a huge fan and I’m learning to love them…slowly 😉

  • Those are some beautiful sprouts you’ve got there, Claire. I’ve no room for them here and it’s probably just as well. I’m such a lousy dancer that my Gardener’s Shuffle would probably do nothing but give the neighbors something to laugh about. Like they need any more reason! 🙂

  • That frosty last photo … so SoOoOoOoooo good. !!!
    Not a lover of Brussels sprouts – have prepared too many for Christmas during my years in UK and Ireland. Good luck to the sprout community – now you have support – I know it’s not that easy to grow them .. my grandma tried a couple of times, she gave up. Good luck.

  • One year, in another garden, quite by accident, I had a huge crop of Brussels Sprouts. I am not brave enough to grow them here, but I do love them! And my sons who ran away screaming at the suggestion of a sprout when they were kids now consume them and crave them. Oh, the shuffle–have you ever up ended in a soft spot and done a splat rather than a shuffle?

  • Thank you for the tips! I shall add these to my planting list once I’ve got my beds sorted 🙂

  • There’s only one thing lacking after I do the little dance with my wellies…the sun. My little raised garden just doesn’t get enough morning sun.

  • Congrats on the Brussels Sprouts. They are one of my favorite vegetables — and I’m hoping you’ll be sharing some of your recipes. Do you think the Gardeners Shuffle will go viral on YouTube? I think you should record yourself and post it. 🙂

  • I love the detail you give us on the growing.. it’s the detail that counts and in the end makes a master – master gardener – master Brussels sprout!!!!

  • One of my favorite vegetables. Never have grown them as our time at the cottage in Maine is too short.

  • We grew flower sprouts last year and they lasted up until end of January when we took the last tops off and ate them. They are fabulous! A cross between a kale and a sprout.

  • I’m not sure how I missed this Claire, but I was missing you and went on a search. And here you were! I love Brussel’s Sprouts and have never even thought of growing them. They seem to take up more space than I have available, but maybe I need to think again! We do have access to them by the stalk, and I can never pass by without bringing them home. 🙂

  • Here where we are, brussels are the new black. You cannot order a meal anywhere without having them on your plate. I do like them. Grew them last year but had a terrible time with the aphids.

  • As a professional gardener, I feel I should encourage gardening in all its forms… Fresh air, fantastic exercise (especially if you use the “Gardeners Shuffle”!), incredibly fresh produce…But Brussel Sprouts…? The frosted picture was fab… But just don’t pass the Sprouts this way!

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