Archive for October 4th, 2010

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Bragging on Brussels Sprouts

October 4, 2010

It’s hard to believe that these squatty plants will grow into a tall stock* of little green balls that children—and many adults—would rather use in a game of dodge ball then eat. There’s nothing sweet about Brussels sprouts, but they are nutritious. 

The first time I served Brussels sprouts to my family, no one ate them. The second time, I smothered them in a creamy, cheese sauce. Unimpressed, my two young sons rolled Brussels sprouts around their plate like a game of hockey. It was several years later (after the boys left the coop) that I reintroduced Brussels sprouts to my husband. As I learned to prepare them different ways (pan and oven roasted are a favorite), Brussels sprouts have become a regular vegetable at our dinner table. Now, I’m growing them. Why not? Brussels sprouts are easy to freeze, and unlike frozen string beans, they maintain their fresh flavor.

Growing Tips:

  • Plant mid or late summer in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Before planting work in 2-4 inches organic compost matter and all-purpose fertilizer.**
  • Plant 12-18 inches apart and 24-30 inches between rows.
  • Place transplants deep in the soil like you would a tomato plant.
  • Water deep (from the bottom, not overhead) and infrequent.
  • Don’t fertilize during sprout growth which can cause loose, soft sprouts, and splitting.

Watch for:

  • Aphids and ants
  • Cabbageworms and loopers

Harvest Tips:

Pick sprouts about 1-inch in diameter from the bottom up as they mature.

Nutrition:

  • High in vitamin C, iron, calcium, and fiber
  • Low in calories and carbohydrates
  • Zero saturated and trans fat

*The Brussels sprout stock in above photo was purchased at Trader Joe’s. The “squatty plants” are in my garden.

**Gardner & Bloome has a “Natural and Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer.”

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