Brussels Sprouts

Q. When do I plant Brussels sprouts for maximum production?

A. Brussels sprouts are sensitive to temperature. In general, Brussels sprouts will produce best when daytime temperatures average about 65 degrees F. or less. Consequently, Brussels sprouts grow best when planted in mid to late summer for late fall or early winter harvesting.

Q. Should you pinch or cut the top out of Brussels sprout plants to make them produce more?

A. This is up to you. Pinching or removing the growing point of the plant will hasten the development of the sprouts resulting in earlier harvest, but reduces the yield by about one third. If you expect temperatures to drop much below 20 degrees F., which might kill the plant, pinching out the top in early fall will probably increase harvestable yield.

Q. Why do my Brussels sprouts fail to make firm, good-sized sprouts?

A. Probably because they were planted at the wrong time of the year. Brussels sprouts grow best when they mature under relatively cool conditions. For firm, good-quality sprouts plant about 120 days before the first expected hard freeze.

Q. Can the leaves of Brussels sprouts be eaten?

A. Yes. They are prepared much like collards. Harvest only the young, tender leaves as mature leaves often have an off- flavor.

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