Brussels sprouts

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Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. Gemmifera) - one of the most important winter vegetables - is also known as sprouts and is considered a novice among cabbage varieties. It was first described in Belgium in 1785 and successfully cultivated in Brussels in 1821. Hence his original name "Choux de Bruxelles" (Brussels cabbage).
Brussels sprouts are more winter hardy than other head-forming cabbages. Depending on the desired harvest time, there are different varieties. Traditional varieties develop their nutty-sweet taste only over the winter. This is due to the dextrose: photosynthesis causes the green perennials to form glucose in cold winter temperatures. This tasteless starch is transformed into aromatic sugars in the buds, accumulates there and makes the taste typical of the mini cabbage. In addition, Brussels sprouts are the most vitamin C-rich winter vegetable of all and even surpasses the kale. It also contains a considerable amount of vegetable protein, B vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron.

Appearance and growth

The buds of Brussels sprouts, also called "roses" or "roses", consist of many closely overlapping leaves, so that they themselves look like little cabbages. They sit very close together in the leaf axils of the leaves. The upper leaves of the plant turn downwards in frost to protect the young roses from frost. The stature height of the trunk is 60 to 90 centimeters.

Location and ground

The starvation brussel sprouts thrive on nutrient- and humus-rich soils, which provide sufficient yields. Ideal is a pH of at least 6.8. Brussels sprouts can handle most soil types, but prefers heavy soils with a high clay content. You can improve the soil by adding compost or manure last year.

Brussels sprout grew

The strongly developed axillary buds of Brussels sprouts are a delicious winter vegetables

Crop rotation and mixed culture

In general, cabbage species should be grown together again at the earliest after three years on the same bed and not with other cabbage plants. Sprouts can be well planted after early potatoes, beans and peas.


When growing the Brussels sprouts you need patience, because the buds mature late - from sowing to harvest it takes around 165 days. Although you can sow the Brussels sprouts directly into the bed at the end of March to the beginning of May, sowing in pots in the spring is recommended. The sowing depth is two centimeters.


The pre-cultivated seedlings are placed in the bed from mid-April to late May, but no later than the beginning of June, with a planting distance of 60 x 40 centimeters. To encourage root growth, the bed is kept rather dry in the first two to three weeks after planting. The stem forms strong blue-green leaves in early summer. It takes about three months for the first sprouts to form in the leaf axils. So that the high-growing types of Brussels sprouts do not buckle, a support rod is recommended on the plant.
The cultivation of Brussels sprouts in the pot is possible in principle. Use a planter with a capacity of at least 30 liters. Since the perennials are very sensitive to heat, you should place them in a bright but only moderately warm place in summer. Pot culture requires regular and extensive watering.

Brussels sprouts young plant

Brussels sprout seedlings can be placed in the bed from mid-April. They grow slowly


Weeds should be removed on a regular basis to increase the stability of Brussels sprouts. In dry summers we advise to mulch with grass clippings. Sometimes it is recommended to spit the Brussels sprouts to encourage the formation of roses. This should only be done with precocious varieties, and that is when the bottom florets are the size of a hazelnut. Winter varieties, on the other hand, are not prone to tarnishing, as this increases the risk of frost damage. In the first and several night frosts, the Brussels sprouts should also be protected with a layer of spruce, as the roses are otherwise tough.
The plants are fertilized only at the beginning of R├Âschenbildung and in the main growing season, preferably with a vegetable manure, for example, nettle or horsetail. A dose of horn meal is recommended when the leaves turn yellow. However, over-fertilization with nitrogen should be avoided, as otherwise the roses will become too loose and less hardy. Especially in the summer - during growth - a good and regular water supply is important.


As a starvation brussel sprout requires enough water. Too much fertilizer does not get the florets, they will not be strong enough

Harvest and recovery

Depending on the variety can be harvested from autumn, when the roses are about walnut size and still firmly closed.Harvest can be done in portions by winter hardy varieties until spring. You should always harvest along the stem - from bottom to top in traditional varieties - and always pick the thickest buds first. When brussel sprouts you want to freeze, a timely harvest, before the outer leaves are damaged by the first frost, important.
Tip: Old varieties such as 'sprouts crossing notice of priority' usually still form a small 'savoy cabbage head'. This can also be treated and used like savoy cabbage.

variety Tips

The varieties differ in taste (nutty, cabbage typical, slightly bitter), in the yield, in the stature height and width, in which area they form florets, as well as in their winter strength. In general, the desired harvest time influences the choice of variety.
Proven varieties for the winter harvest include 'Hild's Ideal' (harvest time: end of October to February), of which each perennial supplies up to one kilogram of florets, and 'Gronninger'. The harvest season in September has the only slightly frost-resistant and sugar-rich early varieties 'Nelson', 'Noisette' and 'Early Half Tall'. 'Falstaff' is one of the few blue-violet varieties with small florets. The color is intensified by frost and remains with the cooking. 'Roodnerf' makes loose perennials with reddish petioles and is very hardy.
For some time there have been some new varieties for the autumn and winter harvest: 'Crispus' is particularly resistant to cabbage hernia, but not hardy. His first buds ripen in September. Red Ball, on the other hand, tolerates longer frost periods. The roses taste sweet and can also be used for salad. 'Brigitte' trains many solid and uniformly sized buds.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts 'Falstaff'

Whether as steamed vegetables or in soup: the green florets are rich in vitamins and taste aromatic nutty (left). The blue-violet variety 'Falstaff' forms smaller florets (right)

Diseases and pests

Sometimes the cabbage moth shield (Aleurodes proletella) occurs in mild winters and dry, hot summers. This can lead to infestation with Ru├čtaupilzen. As a countermeasure you should always keep the plants weed-free and do not grow on previously infected areas. Covering with culture guards and pumping beneficial insects in the garden can also help. Against the Mehlige cabbage aphid means are suitable on rapeseed oil basis. Snails also like to make their way over the tasty Brussels sprouts. In addition, the diseases Kohlhernie, wrong and powdery mildew and white rust can occur.

Video Board: How-To Roast Brussels Sprouts - Clean Eating Recipe.

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