Heat stressed sprouts – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

My teeny, tiny brussels sprouts have been looking so good, but with water shortage I’ve not been watering them these past couple of weeks. They were doing quite well, but on closer inspection today, I’ve noticed the bright pink stalks (and pink tips of leaves) and the slightly blobby looking (that’s the technical term) sprouts themselves – two clear signs that the plants are stressed from the dry, hot weather.

The pinkness should sort itself out after some heavy rainfall – with moisture back in the soil the plants will be able to draw up the nutrients they need to recover. The actual sprouts are less likely to recover though. They are almost beginning to open out, and it’s way too early for them to be doing that. Still, it’s a normal response to the conditions we’ve had, and even if they are loose leaved I will harvest them and use them. I’m hopeful that the smaller, younger sprouts towards the top of the stalk will remain closed and that they will, with rain, grow well over the next few weeks so that I can have some good sprouts to harvest and freeze for Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, in the same brassica bed I’ve had a couple of good cabbages, a few good-looking cauliflowers and a steady supply of kale. Much of the kale is now covered in mildew and is coming to an end a little earlier than normal, but I’ll be planting more up soon so I’ll just pull it up and compost it. Some of my cabbages are loose and not forming hearts, so I will harvest them and shred the leaves to add to stir-fries. The ones that have formed well I will leave in the ground for a little while, and hope that they will stand in the soil for a few more weeks so that I can harvest everything slowly.