How to Grow Brussels Sprouts in Your Backyard

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts in Your Backyard

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts in Your Backyard

Introduction

Growing Brussels sprouts in your own backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience. With proper care and attention, you can harvest pounds of tasty Brussels sprouts for your family to enjoy. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully grow Brussels sprouts in your backyard garden.

Selecting the Right Variety

The first step is choosing the right variety of Brussels sprouts to plant. There are many varieties available, but some good options for home gardens include:

  • Jade Cross E – This is an early maturing variety that produces sprouts about 3 inches in diameter. It has good cold tolerance.

  • Long Island Improved – A reliable variety that produces sprouts up to 2 inches across. It has an excellent flavor.

  • Prince Marvel – This is a compact plant variety with sprouts that grow about 1.5 inches in diameter. It matures early.

  • Gustus – A taller plant variety that yields sprouts about 1 inch in diameter. It has good heat tolerance.

Look for disease-resistant varieties if possible. I prefer to grow Jade Cross E in my backyard since it reliably produces a good harvest.

When to Plant

Brussels sprouts grow best when temperatures range between 45-75°F. In most climates, the ideal planting window is early spring for a fall harvest. I aim to plant my sprouts 4-5 months before the first expected fall frost.

If you live in a warmer region with mild winters, you can also plant Brussels sprouts in late summer/early fall for a winter harvest. Just make sure to plant early enough that they mature before temperatures drop too low.

Preparing the Soil

Brussels sprouts need nutrient-rich soil to thrive. Before planting, till the soil to a depth of 8 inches and mix in 2-3 inches of compost or other organic matter. You can also add a balanced fertilizer according to package directions.

The ideal pH range for Brussels sprouts is between 6.0-6.8. Test your soil and add lime if needed to raise the pH. Proper soil preparation is key to growing healthy sprouts.

Planting Brussels Sprout Starts

Once your soil is ready, it’s time to plant! Brussels sprouts are always started from transplants, not direct seeded. Look for sturdy transplants about 4-6 weeks old.

Space the transplants 18-24 inches apart in rows 2-3 feet apart. Plant them at the same depth they were growing in their pots. Water thoroughly after transplanting.

If space allows, I recommend planting Brussels sprouts in a sunny spot protected from wind, which can damage the plants. Make sure they get at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Caring for Your Plants

Brussels sprouts require consistent care throughout the growing season:

  • Water 1-2 inches per week. Give them a deep soaking rather than frequent light watering.

  • Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer. Side dress around the plants, being careful not to damage shallow roots.

  • Mulch around the plants to retain moisture and reduce weeds. Shredded leaves or straw work great.

  • Remove the lowest leaves from the stem as the plants grow. This helps improve air circulation.

  • Monitor for pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and flea beetles. Use organic methods like insecticidal soap, neem oil, or row covers if needed.

Harvesting Perfect Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts mature from the bottom up. Begin harvesting sprouts at the bottom of the stem when they reach 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut each sprout off the stem.

Keep harvesting up the stem every few days as more sprouts reach maturity. The harvesting window can last 1-2 months. Remove yellow leaves as you harvest.

Aim to harvest sprouts before the first hard frost for best flavor. After a frost, remaining sprouts will become mushy. Time your planting correctly to get a full harvest.

Enjoy your homegrown Brussels sprouts fresh, roasted, sautéed, or any way you like! With the right care, you can grow an abundant harvest in your own backyard.