How To Grow Your Own Brussels Sprouts Garden

If your favourite veggie is Brussels Sprouts, you may want to grow it in your garden. Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and an incredible source of nutrients. These remarkable cool weather plants are scrumptious though they can be a little tough to learn. And since these tiny cabbages are worth your effort, here are some tips for growing them.

About Brussels Sprouts Plants

Brussels sprouts plants (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) are a cultivated variety of Brassicaceae or the mustard family, a related plant species of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi. They look like mini cabbages but grow a little different.

The edible sprouts grow like globular buds along the side of long, thick stems about 30 to 36 inches tall. The bright green cabbage-like sprouts are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and each stalk can yield 2.5 to 3.1 lb. The sprouts are often composed of compacted leaves.

Because Brussels sprouts require a fairly long growing season, many recommend growing them with a fall crop in consideration. They are among the few crops frequently picked after the snow has fallen. If you’re in a temperate climate region that doesn’t have hot summers, you can produce a spring crop of Brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Varieties

  • Churchill – An early maturing sprout, producing mild green, smooth, large bulbs
  • Diablo – A heavy cropping brussels sprout with solid, medium-sized heads
  • Falstaff – A red/purple sprout with milder, nuttier flavour
  • Jade Cross – A high-yield compact plant of deep green, flavorful round sprouts
  • Long Island Improved – A dwarf variety heirloom that produces a sweeter tone after a light frost.
  • Oliver – The earliest variety can be planted as late as early summer and matures remarkably early.

Are Brussels Sprouts Easy To Grow?

Brussels sprouts are fairly easy to grow and need almost no attention after they’ve been sowed in the ground. While they require quite a long period of cool temperatures to produce, they only occupy little space in the garden. Assuming you have enough space and a suitable period of cool weather, they’re trouble-free.
a colander filled with brussel sprouts on top of a wooden.

When To Plant Brussels Sprouts?

Timing is essential when embarking on planting Brussels Sprouts. If you’re seeking to harvest directly after the first fall frost, count backward from your first fall frost date by the number of “days to maturity” indicated on the seed pack. This implies you may want to begin your brussels sprouts seed about four weeks before the expected first frost.

The above statement suggests that seedlings are commonly sowed in the ground in June or started from seed indoors in May in most climates. If you’re in a place with a warm climate, you’ll want to plant seeds mid-summer and have a fall harvest or early winter harvest.

Most gardeners suggest starting seeds indoors because this offers seedlings an upper hand and helps safeguard them from the heat of summer and pests. If you intend to plant outdoors, directly in the ground, sow seeds a few weeks, about 20 days, earlier than if you’re establishing them indoors.

How To Plant Brussels Sprouts?

Grow Brussel Sprouts Indoors

You can direct seed, though a lot of finds that young plants are vulnerable to garden pests, such as maggots and moths. This is why many of the zones in Canada have to start seeds indoors. Then transplant hardy, healthy Brussels sprouts seedlings into your garden.

Fill seed flats, seedling trays, or pots with a premium seed starting mix and sow seeds a quarter of an inch deep inside individual 3-inch seedling pots. Plant two seeds for every pot. Spread another layer of seed starting mix on top of them and compress them, so they’re firmly packed. Moisten the top layer using a spray mister. Cover plants with clear plastic to hold the moisture so the soil won’t need watering until after sprouting. Place the pot in a sunny spot or if you have strong enough grow lights.

Brussels sprouts seeds germinate at an optimal temperature between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They will sprout in 7-12 days and remove any covers after the seeds germinate. Keep the soil moist and nourish plants with diluted fish emulsion solution or liquid kelp, repeating every two weeks.

Transplant seedlings into the garden when they are 5-7 inches tall and have grown 2-4 strong leaves. Move Brussel sprouts to a sheltered area outdoors for one week before transplanting to “harden off” and avoid transplant shock. The wind and sun can have a drying effect, ultimately stressing or harming the plants.

Grow Brussels Sprouts In A Garden

a close up of a plant with green leaves.
Opt for a planting site with full sun (6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day). Brussels sprout plants are enormous—measuring almost 18-36″ tall and can be as wide as 18″. Their great size makes these plants ideal for in-ground or raised bed planting.

Brussels sprouts prefer to be grown in slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7), well-cultivated, fertile soil. They must receive about 1-2 inches of water each week.

If sowing directly in the garden, plant seedlings about ½ inch deep, 2-3 inches apart, and space rows (or in raised beds) 3-4 inches apart. Closely monitor your new seedlings, more or less, for one week, particularly on blistering summer days.

If cold winters below 32°F make headway and you’re worried that it might last longer and damage the plants, cover the seedlings with something large enough to cover the entire plant.

Water thoroughly after planting, then apply 2-3 inches of mulch around every plant to slow soil moisture evaporation and suppress the growth of weeds. Some shade during the hottest part of the mid-day sun during the first few weeks in a garden is desired.

As time goes on, thin seedlings to 18 to 24 inches apart once they grow 3-4 leaves or reach roughly 6 inches tall. Feed with a nitrogen-rich product after thinning. Do this every 3 to 4 weeks.

It is not required to tie up Brussels sprouts at the time of planting. But they are sometimes needed to avoid tipping over as the plants grow and get heavy. Stake each plant individually with a thick bamboo stake, a wooden stake, and a loose piece of twine. Or you can mound some soil at the base.

What Can I Plant Near Brussels Sprouts?

Companion planting near Brussels sprouts is vital because they help keep pests and diseases away from your plants. They also attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs. Basil, mint, marigold, and other aromatic plants will deter pests. While dill attracts bees for pollination.

Avoid strawberry plants since strawberries can stunt their growth. Tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and other nightshade members extract necessary nutrients from Brussels sprouts.

How To Care For Brussels Sprouts?

Here are some typical management practices you need to consider when cultivating brussels sprouts:

Water Requirements

Frequent watering is the ultimate solution to large Brussels sprout harvests. Approximately 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week must be applied. Uneven moisture can result in poor sprout growth. Ideally, use drip irrigation. Check the soil often and water when you notice the top is droughty.

Mulches And Covers

Plastic or organic mulches help save water and lower weed growth. You will have to observe black plastic’s toughness as the sun can quickly break it down. Spread organic mulches when temperatures rise above 80°F. Organic mulches like compost, shredded bark, and grass clippings moderate soil temperature, increase soil water content, and control weeds.
a close up of a plant in the snow.

Fertilizer Application

Feed your Brussels sprout plants at least twice during the growing season. Then you can spread fertilizer every four weeks or every three weeks when it’s raining non-stop. Also, keep them well-nurtured using a nitrogen-rich blend, like compost or manure.

Brussels sprouts also require more boron than other plants. Scarred and corky spots on petioles and stems and brittle foliage are a few signs of boron deficiency. When this happens, mix 1 tablespoon of borax in 5 quarts of water and sprinkle it evenly over 50 square feet of bed. Never apply more than 1 tablespoon of borax, as too much leads to more problems.


Pruning isn’t a required element of Brussel’s growth. However, you must immediately sever damaged or diseased parts before they drain the entire plant. Also, take off the top leaves to promote branching. Remove leaves from each budding sprout to use the energy being to those leaves into sprout development.

How To Harvest Brussels Sprouts?

Brussels sprouts have a long growing season. They’re sometimes not ready until the fall to harvest when planted in the spring. And as it happens, Brussel sprouts have enhanced flavours after the first frost.

Harvest sprouts when the lower nodes are 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Gather them before they grow overlarge, and leaves begin opening.

Simply twist the little balls to remove the Brussels sprouts from the stalk. Also, ensure you harvest brussels sprouts from the bottom of the stem, leaving the smaller nodes near the top to support growth.

After a moderate frost, you can also take the entire stalk and roots and remove leaves first and then individual sprouts. Keep harvesting because snow doesn’t need to halt production, and it is also likely to have a late winter harvest, based on your weather. Then hang dry the stalk upside down in a garage or shed.

After harvesting sprouts, the second yield might start to develop at the base of the stalk. You may also like to reap the leaves, which are an excellent replacement for cabbage.

Store stalks (without roots) or loose sprouts for at least a week in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper. Discard any rotting or yellow leaves. And please don’t wash them until you’re ready to prepare them.

You can stretch the season long by stacking straw mulch around the plants as high as possible and using raw covers.

Problems Of Brussel Sprouts

Common Pests

Brussels Sprouts get swarmed by pests as other plants in the garden. Some common pests you must keep a close eye on include:

Cabbage Worms And Loopers

Cabbage worms and cabbage loopers chew holes in leaves, which results in spotting on the undersides. Then these pests hide in Brussels sprouts heads. If you see these worms hanging around your plants, handpick them from plants and scrape eggs from leaves. Use Bacillus thuringiensis, which annihilates younger larvae.

Cabbage Aphids

If your sprouts’ leaves become crinkled and curled, aphids are likely infesting your plants. The infestation can be pruned out to provide control or with insecticidal soaps or oils. Be careful when spraying with strong water jets when forcing the aphids out of your plant.
a group of caterpillars crawling on a leaf.

Cabbage Root Fly

They eat up new transplants, and the leaves of affected plants are edged blue and often wilt. You will recognize them by their white maggots at the roots or base of your Brussels sprouts.

Place brassica discs or collars around stalks to keep the female fly from laying eggs on the soil surface. Or grow sprouts under the cover of an insect-proof mesh.

Leaf Miners

Leaf Miners chew tunnels through the leaves, inviting various diseases. Put floating row covers over your sprouts to deal with them.


These insects suck the sap in your plants. Control them by spraying with horticultural oil, neem oil natural pyrethrins, or insecticidal soaps to the underside of infected leaves.

Common Diseases

Black Rot

Black rot is a lethal bacterial disease that causes a v-shaped yellowing in the leaves. Good sanitation is needed to prevent this disease, and don’t plant where you’ve planted brassicas before. Infections may be treated with copper fungicide.

Alternaria Leaf Spot

Alternaria leaf spot is a common foliar disease. Severe infections can cause a reduction in harvest because of leaf loss or weight reduction. The symptoms are small black dots surrounded by chlorotic haloes, then dark-coloured spots with a yellow ring around them. Fungicides can help keep the black spot in check.

Powdery Mildew

If your plants are struck with this fungal disease, you’ll see that leaves will have white patches on the lower surface of the leaf, and leaves may turn yellow or brownish or even curl up. You can control mildew by improving airflow and keeping the leaves dry. Also, treat your plants with a product that has Bacillus subtilis to prevent mildew from infecting them.
a close up of a green leaf with white spots.


Clubroot is another fungal infection where the roots become distorted and swollen. And plants become weak, yellow, and wilt. Add lime to the soil to raise the pH above 7.0, slowing the progression.

Plant only certified seed and rotate Brussels sprouts and other cabbage-family plants away from infested beds for seven years.

Enjoy The Fruit Of Your Labour

Growing Brussels sprouts isn’t difficult when you know when and where to plant them and how to care for them. They are a staple frozen food, so provide some space in your garden for this delectable and versatile crop this year.

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