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
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.
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…….