I know some people hate them, probably remembering the dreadful overcooked things they had at school that wouldnâ€™t even stay on the fork!
Surprisingly or not, sprouts are one of my favourite veg, I cannot wait for this time of year I love that first picking and I always leave them until after the first frost.
You can sow seeds from Feb to April, I did mine in April and planted out at the beginning of June on the allotment, once they were about 4â€ť high and making sure they have quite a few true leaves. The books say to leave 60cm (2ft) between plants and 75cm (2Â˝ft) between rows however I leave 45cm (18â€ť) each way, the Brussels havenâ€™t read the books and they donâ€™t seem to mind. Give them a good drink before and after and planting in full sun. Iâ€™m lucky on my allotment, I donâ€™t have any real shade. I add well-rotted compost to the beds early in the season around February.
When planting sprouts I put a small handful of lime in the hole, apparently for the club root or indeed to prevent it!Â I was told to do it, and have never had a problem then I add a good sprinkling of chicken pellets, I usually go organic, if youâ€™re not then use your usual general fertilizer.Â Keep them watered, every couple of weeks should be about right. I then give them another dose of chicken poop end July/Aug just to see them through, a good handful every square metre/yard. Because mine are in raised beds with fairly loose soil I stake each plant against wind rock, it can get a bit blowy round here, if yours are in regular solid ground you could just mound up the soil around their base.Â
Then come the crittersâ€¦ Birds, Caterpillars and White fly eyeing up the feast. I immediately cover the plants with fleece or mesh which is left on for the whole of the growing season, but beware, those wretched white flies still manage to squeeze through the titchiest hole! Â Confession, I am not perfectâ€¦ I HAVE WHITE FLY even with all precautions taken, but nothing a good wash wonâ€™t sort out.Â
Start picking from the lowest sprouts, they should be tightly closed, firm and about the size of a walnut. Snap em off with a sharp downward tug. And they keep giving, once youâ€™ve used up all the sprouts, you must try the sprout tops they are yummy. Just cook like cabbage.Â What a veg!
Why not head over to the recipe section, with Brussels and Leeks around at the same time why not give Creamy, cheesy leek and Brussels sprout gratin a go.Â