Nurturing & Harvesting Brussels Sprouts

Depending on when you planted your sprouts, and where in the country, you may have a few ready for harvesting around about now. Here are some useful bits of info for looking after them and harvesting them over the next few months.

  • As the sprouts form, be particularly vigilant of slugs and snails – they will happily hide in amongst the plant and eat the newly forming sprouts. Put down slug traps and check the leaves of the plant well to remove any small slugs/snails that you find.
  • Stake sprouts against strong winds – An easy way to do this is to put 4 bamboo stakes in the earth at the 4 corners of your sprouts row/block. Then tie string around the 4 stakes.
  • Earth them up – again, this will help them to stay steady in strong winds. Just pull up some soil around the base of each plant and firm it down.
  • Make sure they are netted against pigeonsĀ 
  • Remove yellowing leaves regularly as this will keep the plants healthy and will avoid attracting slugs.
  • They will tolerate frost well – and it improves the flavour, so no need to cover them with fleece or anything like that
  • Harvest sprouts individually by twisting sprouts off starting at the base of the stalk, leaving the smaller younger sprouts to keep on growing
  • Or harvest a whole stalk if they are reaching full size and you want to keep them for Christmas, try harvesting the entire stalk and storing it in a cold, dark room – it should keep for approx 4-6 weeks.
  • Harvest the head too – the cabbage-like head at the top of the plant can be cooked like a normal cabbage.
  • Harvest before sprouts turn yellow or start to open – if left on the plant too long the individual sprouts will open up like mini cabbages, so try to pick them off while they are still closed