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Crop Profile: Brussels Sprouts

Try this brassica plant in your garden, a good crop for patient and experienced farmers.

By Samantha Johnson


Brussels sprouts
Courtesy Jupiterimages/
Comstock/Thinstock

Brussels sprouts are among the most interesting vegetables you can grow. With rows of tiny 1- to 2-inch cabbage-like heads growing along a 2- to 4-foot stalk, Brussels sprouts are a must-have brassica for your garden.

Brussels sprouts like cool weather and can handle a mild frost, but cover them if you anticipate a hard freeze. Plant in full-sun, sandy loam with good drainage. Don’t be in a rush to harvest your sprouts in fall—a light autumn frost actually improves their flavor. Start your seeds indoors 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, then transplant seedlings outdoors. Place your plants 18 to 24 inches apart, in rows 30 to 36 inches apart.

Brussels sprouts require patience: They are ready to harvest approximately 20 weeks after sowing. They need to be started indoors for several weeks to jumpstart their growth before transplanting outdoors for an additional 60 to 100 days of outdoor cultivation.

Read more about growing brassicas.

About the Author: Samantha Johnson is the author of several books, including a forthcoming book on gardening for children. She raises purebred Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin.

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Crop Profile: Brussels Sprouts

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Reader Comments
Interesting article. Thank you.
Diane, Beaverton, ON
Posted: 9/8/2012 10:37:25 PM
My sprouts have grown about 2ft, planted as seedlings last Jan. We have a mild climate on the coast. We have lots of leaves but the sprouts never form, just make little clusters of leaves. What's up? Just about ready to pull them out.
maggienow, nipomo,, CA
Posted: 5/14/2012 9:09:27 AM
We have trouble growing these for some reason but we just love them.
Melanie, Hopetown, ON
Posted: 2/23/2012 8:52:07 AM
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