Further information: Brussels Sprouts Plants.
Where to grow? - When planting the soil must be firm and fertile and the position needs to be sunny and open yet sheltered from high winds.
How to look after? - People may sometimes have an issue with Brussels sprouts but birds don’t and you may need to protect your crop from pigeons. Please take care with any netting to make sure that birds cannot be trapped. Caterpillars and aphids are also rather partial and so will need to be controlled.
Hoe regularly between plants so that they do not need to compete with weeds for nutrients and moisture. In dry weather water young plants regularly, once the plants mature this should no longer be necessary.
As autumn approaches earthup around the stems and in exposed sites it may be an idea to stake the taller varieties. This will prevent any damage caused by wind rock.
When to harvest? - Tradition states that sprouts should not be harvested until after the first frost however taste tests have not proved this and many newer varieties are designed to crop from September onwards. Begin picking when the sprouts are the size of a walnut and start at the base of the stem, working upwards. Remove only a few sprouts at a time from each stem. Also remove any yellowing leaves as this will encourage air circulation and reduce the risk of disease.
How to eat? – Steaming for about 6 minutes and then tossing in butter or olive oil makes a delicious side dish. Creamed sprouts with chestnuts or steamed sprouts with lemon and garlic are also a joy to eat. Honest.
When all the sprouts have been picked cut off the cabbagy tops and steam them. They taste delicious.
"Brussels sprouts are misunderstood – probably because most people don’t know how to cook them properly." - Todd English