It’s taken me all year to grow this sprouts and if I’m honest, other than the odd weeding session here and there I haven’t really given my sprouts much tender loving care.
We’re having quite a mild winter so far so I thought I’d mound up the base of the plants with mulch to help with water retention and tie the plants up to try and keep them steady which will preserve energy levels. You may remember I collected some leaf mold at the beginning of the year and this has broken down nicely over the last 12 months. I’ve used a couple of barrows of this, even though it’s not completely broken down as it will decompose in the ground later on in the spring.
On closer inspection of my sprouts, I have to say that I was a little disheartened to find that the crop consisted of sprouts that were only slightly bigger than a marble. The plants have been subject to a flea beetle attack throughout the year and know that this has stunted growth slightly. Small holes have appeared on the plants along with bite marks around the edge of the leaves over the last few months. Flea beetle larvae tend to feed on roots of germinating plants.
I’ve also done some research and I’ve found that the size of your sprouts tend to be down to the soil conditions. The bed in which I’am growing my sprouts may be too rich in phosphorus or nitrogen. Next year I’ll be sure to add compost to my sprout patch, at least twice a year in the hope that I get decent sized sprouts.
Love them or hate them, sprouts are rich in iron and are incredibly good you – so think of that next time you decide to tuck into a bowl on Christmas day.
I’ve been cultivating Brussels Sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli over the last few weeks and they’ve now reached the stage whereby they’re big enough to plant out. The plants are around 15-20cm tall with good robust steams and accompanying lovely foliage.
I’ve prepared a bed, (and by prepare, I mean weeded) that has good exposure to the sun. I’ve also chosen to plant the brussels sprouts and broccoli together as the mixture of scents will cut down on the amount of pests that are likely to attack the plants.
Not so long ago I teased out the seedlings and planted them in to pots to give them a bit of room to grow. Since then I lost of couple of Brussels sprout plants to slug attacks – something I’ll have to bare in mind for later on. Planting Brussels sprouts and broccoli is very simple, just dig a hole big enough for the root stock, place the plant in the hole and cover well. I’ve mulched the surface of the bed with some goodness from the compost bin, I’m hoping this will retain water and keep the weeds down.
Brussels sprouts and broccoli are both from Brassica oleracea specie so it’s safe to say that they’re both likely to attract the same pests.
Brassica pests and diseases
Slugs: It’s no surprise that slugs will try and go for my plants, they eat anything in their path and the sprouts and broccoli are clear targets. I’ve peppered the bed with slug pellets to try and keep damage to a minimal.
Flea Beetle: I think these are already attacking my broad beans, you know you’ve got flea beetle to deal with when you notice little white holes in the leaves of your plants. As I’ve said before, I’ve planted broccoli and sprouts together to use the mixture of scents to confuse flea beetles and any other pests.
Pigeons and butterflies: Pigeons and butterflies love sprouts, broccoli, cabbages and cauliflower and they’ll soon make short work of your plants if you’re not careful. I’ve put together a rudimentary frame and covered the plants with netting to try and stop butterflies and pigeons getting in to eat the plants.
Not long ago, I planted some Brussels Sprout, Brenden F1 seeds and now the time has come to separate the seedlings and plant them in their own pot.
I tend to separate plants when the second set of leaves have grown.
It’s a bit of a delicate process, but it’s so satisfying to see when all of the seedlings have been given a bit more room to grow.
First of all, line up your pots, fill with compost and make a hole in the centre of the pot. It’s best to plant the seedlings into moist compost so I water the pots beforehand and let drain for a couple of minutes.
Using a spoon or a seedling dibber, gently lift the seedlings out of their cells making sure that you have plenty of root to plant into the new pots. Gently plant the seedling into the pot, making sure the roots are well covered.
In total I’ve wound up with 14 Brussels Sprout plants, which I cannot wait to pick produce off of. If you need to see how to sow Brussels Sprouts, click here.
Since then, however, I have been battling some pests as my seedlings did get eaten by a little mouse. I can’t blame the little blighters as the weather has been frosty at this time of year. However, this does mean that I’ve had to resow the broad beans and the peas about three times and I’ve had to put together a better coldframe.
I’ve also had to contend with birds pulling out the shallots from the ground. I’ve read a number of reasons as to why birds pull at bulbs, from thinking that the heads of the shallots are worms to them thinking that the tips of the onions are ideal nest-making materials. Needless to say, this has stunted progress!
Because of the delays, I was hoping to show off tiny green shoots, however, the only thing I have to show are a few tiny wisps.
Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are certainly an acquired taste, but like most fruit and vegetables nothing beats a crop that’s been grown by your own fair hand.
I’ve decided to give brussels sprouts a go this year and I’ve chosen a fairly new variety to the market – Brussels sprouts Brenden F1 Brenden F1 .
Brussels sprouts Brenden F1 Brenden F1, is a sprout aimed specifically at the Christmas market for growers who supply the supermarkets.
Brussels sprouts Brenden F1 Brenden F1 are said to grow well in a variety of soil types and produce an excellent number of sprouts later on in the season. Brenden sprouts, when cooked well, are meant to have a very delicate and distinct taste.
They’re also disease resistance, making them ideal for the allotment. Harvesting takes place from November to January, so we can enjoy that pleasant brussels sprout aroma well into the new year.
Sowing brussels sprouts seeds is dead easy and you’ll start to recognise the process from the other seeds that I’ve sown earlier.
But, for the avoidance of doubt, be sure to sow the seeds in multi-purpose compost covering the seeds with around 6mm of compost. Placed in a cold frame or a window sill, germination is expected in around 7 days.
When they get around 3 inches tall, I’ll want to move the seedlings into pots to encourage root growth.