How to Grow Brussels Sprouts


Do not grow Brussels Sprouts in the same plot more than once every three years and ideally grow in a plot which has grown peas or beans previously. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot.

Dig the soil deeply in winter and leave several months before planting to ensure firm soil add lime to aim for a pH of 6.5-7.5.

Sow early March under glass, planting out early May to end of June. Or sow outdoors in a seed bed between mid March and mid April, sow thinly in rows 6 inches apart. Transplant when seedlings are 4-6ins and leave 24ins between plants.

By growing both early and late varieties you can be picking Sprouts from September to March. Earth up the stems in Autumn and stake tall varieties. Harvest with the lower sprouts are walnut sized and tightly closed working up the stem.

Brussels Sprouts Troubles
Trouble Symptoms Treatment Prevention
Boron Deficiency Young leaves are distorted and heads of cauliflowers are small and bitter. Brown patches on the curds. Spray at first signs of deficiency Apply borax before planting
Blown Brussels Sprouts Open, leafy sprouts instead of tight button ones. Remove blown sprouts Ensure plenty of organic matter is added to the soil prior to planting and that the ground is well compacted. Ensure site is sunny and well watered.
Black Rot Yellowing leaves with black veins. Will kill seedlings and mature plants are stunted. None Rotate crops
Cutworm Large grey or brown caterpillars attack young plants at night and stems are severed below ground. Leaves and roots may also be eaten. Hoe the soil around the plant during June and July and destroy caterpillars as they are found Rake Chlorophos into the soil prior to planting
Chafer Grubs Wilting leaves. Fat, curved grubs may be seen in the soil. The plants will die. None Destroy grubs as they are found during autumn digging and rake Chlorophos into the soil prior to planting
Club Root Discoloured leaves wilt in the sun. Plants will die or grow slowly. None Lime well and ensure the soil is well drained. Dip transplant roots in thiophanate-methyl before planting. Rotate crops
Diamond-Back Moth Green caterpillars fed on the underside of leaves. Spray at first sign of attack None
Downy Mildew Yellowing of upper surface with white furry fungus growth beneath. Spray at first stage of disease Sow seeds in sterilised compost. Do not over-crowd and don’t raise seedlings where the disease has been before.
Flea Beetle Lots of small, round holes in leaves. Seedlings can be killed. Spray at the first sign of attack. Water plants well in dry weather. Treating seeds with an insecticidal seed dressing will prevent early attacks
Frost Can kill plants if it reaches the roots. Affected leaves are easily attacked by fungi or bacteria. Burn damaged leaves Ensure plants are firmed well when transplanting
Gall Weevil Swellings form close to ground level. Crops are rarely affected. Not really needed. Apply a soil-pest killer
Leaf Spot (Ring Spot) Brown rings on mature leaves. Burn diseased leaves and spray Do not plant brassicas in the same spot next season
Mealy Aphid Waxy, greyish “greenflies” appear underneath leaves. Leaves curl and turn yellow. Spray at the first sign of attack Burn affected plants
Magnesium Deficiency Yellowing between the veins of older leaves. Apply a tonic around the plant and a fertiliser containing magnesium Incorporate compost into the soil during Autumn digging
Manganese Deficiency Similar in look to magnesium deficiency but tends to start on young leaves. Apply a tonic around the plant Incorporate compost into the soil during Autumn digging
Pigeons Soft portion of leaves are eaten. None Netting is the only viable form of prevention
Slugs and Snails Leaves and stems eaten. Young plants particularly at risk. Use slug pellets or add nematodes to the soil Keep the site clear of rubbish
White Blister (White Rust) White spots on leaves. Growth stunted and plants might die. Burn diseased leaves and thin out plants to avoid over-crowding Do not grow brassicas the following year
Wire Stem Base of stems is black. Seedlings die. None Avoid growing seedlings in cold and wet soil. Avoid over-crowding
Whiptail Thin, straplike leaves.  Molybdenum deficiency. Spray repeatedly Ensure soil is adequately limed

 

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