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Tips for Growing Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a vegetable plant that tends to grow best in a climate that is cooler in temperature. It is a slow growing vegetable, so if you plan on growing Brussels sprouts, remember to plant it in an area that you do not expect to clear for a while. Brussels sprouts are a fall vegetable and will not be ready to harvest until then. Here are some tips for growing Brussels Sprouts.
In regards to planting Brussels Sprouts, it is best that you sow the seeds indoors approximately 5-6 weeks before you plant them in the garden. They grow best in temperatures ranging from 45 to 75 degrees. When planting the seed pods, plant them approximately ½ inch deep. Place them in front of an inside window where it is still warm and the sun can speed up the germination process. You should see growth in 2-5 days.
If you are growing Brussels Sprouts from transplants, the best time to place them in the ground is from April to May. However, if you are planting from seed, you can plant the seeds in the ground as late as June. Soil conditions must be perfect in order to get a proper growing season. Till the land to loosen the dirt and in add some organic compost if possible. Brussels Sprouts tend to grow best in slightly acidic conditions. The soil must be moist and loose.
Brussels Sprouts take a lot of nutrients from the soil while growing. It is best that you add some organic compound to the soil when the plant is just starting to grow. The PH levels should be between the 6.0 and 6.5 range. Adding fertilizer to the seedlings just before they are planted into the ground will help this vegetable to grow well. A fertilizer that has a strong magnesium and calcium base is best.
Plants should be spaced 24-30 inches apart and if seedlings appear to be weak and spindly, you can bury the in the soil up to the first set of leaves to give the plant some solid roots. They are a plant that requires frequent watering. However, you need to let the soil dry out before watering once again. They tend to like the ground moist but not soaked.
Brussels Sprouts need to be fed nitrogen fertilizer every month. Approximately one month before harvesting you need to remove the top part of the plant. By doing so, it will tell the plant to stop growing new leaves and concentrate more on developing the plant buds.
Another important factor to remember with Brussels Sprouts is that they have a shallow root system. Organic compost should be added to the base around the plant at regular intervals. Remember to pick the buds from the base of the plant first, when harvesting the Brussels Sprouts. The plant buds should be free of worm holes, and have leaves that green and firmly wrapped around the compact bud. You can also choose to harvest the whole plant at one time. Simply cut the plant near the root once the leaves start to turn a yellow color.