Brussels sprouts companion plants

Contents

Brussels Sprouts Companion Plants – What To Grow With Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are members of the Cruciferae family (which includes kale, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens and cauliflower). These cousins all do well as companion plants for Brussels sprouts simply because they have similar nutritional, water and light requirements. The downside of planting these relatives together is that they also share similar pests and diseases. Are there other Brussels sprouts companion plants that might be a better choice? Read on to find out.

Brussels Sprout Plant Companions

The nature of companion planting is situating one or more species of plants in close proximity to another for one or both benefit. While the Cruciferae gang may like to hang together in the garden, the fact that they share pests and disease problems makes them less than ideal companions for Brussels sprouts. In other words, if a disease tends to infect broccoli, it’s a good probability that it will take a liking to one or several of the other cole crops.

Introducing other Brussels sprout companion plants outside of the family will create diversity in the garden, which will make it less likely for diseases and pests to be spread around. The question is, what to grow with Brussels sprouts?

What to Grow with Brussels Sprouts?

Sure, some people are loners, but by the very nature of being human, most of us like a companion or two, someone to share our life with and help us when we need it. Plants are the same way; most of them do very well with companion plants and Brussels sprouts are no exception.

Brussels sprouts are a favorite of dozens of pests that include:

  • Aphids
  • Beetles
  • Thrips
  • Caterpillars
  • Cabbage loopers
  • Leafminers
  • Squash bugs
  • Beet armyworms
  • Cutworms

Aromatic Brussels sprout plant companions can help to ward off these pests and even attract beneficial insects, like ladybugsand parasitic wasps.

Some of these aromatic plants are pleasantly scented, such as basil and mint. Others are more pungent, like garlic, which is said to repel Japanese beetles, aphids and blight. Marigoldsare also said to deter pests and when they are tilled into the earth, they release a substance that repels nematodes. Nasturtiumsare another flower that companions well with Brussels sprouts and is said to repel squash bugs and whiteflies.

Interestingly, although many of the cole crops shouldn’t be planted too close together, mustardcan act as a trap crop. In other words, mustard planted near Brussels sprouts will attract the pests that normally feed on the sprouts. When you see that the insects are attacking the mustard, dig it up and remove it.

Other plants that companion well with Brussels sprouts include:

  • Beets
  • Bush beans
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Pea
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Tomato

Just as you like some people and dislike others, Brussels sprouts feel the same way. Don’t grow strawberries, kohlrabior pole beans near these plants.

Brussels sprouts are really delicious, tasting like a mild and firm cabbage—which is basically what they are! While Brussels sprouts are available year-round in our global food economy, they are really at their peak in the Northern Hemisphere in the late summer and fall months, which is why they are a cornerstone of fall cooking in the United States.

Like hearty, green leafy things like kale, collards, broccoli, and arugula (rocket), Brussels sprouts are part of the brassica family. As such, they tolerate cold well and taste more delicious after a frost or two (some say they’re even better after a hard freeze!), so they are suitable for most growing zones in the U.S. You can make Brussels sprouts part of your fall cooking next year by getting started with planning for planting Brussels sprouts now.

Lucky for you, Brussels sprouts are rather easy to grow, although they do have a long growing season of about four to six months. Read on to learn more about how to grow Brussels sprouts in your garden!

Planting Brussels Sprouts

Almanac recommends starting seeds six to eight weeks before the last spring frost or sowing four months before first fall frost. This is likely May-June, depending on your USDA zone.

When transplanting seedlings or starts they will need to be 12-36 inches apart—so hopefully, you have ample space in your garden or garden boxes! Gardening Know How suggests that they are best grown from starts to ensure longevity and durability in warmer months.

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Growing Anything shares the following basic planting details for Brussels sprouts:

  • Planting depth: about 1 inch
  • Spacing in rows: about 16-24 inches
  • Days to germination: 5-10 days

Brussels sprouts are heavy feeders, requiring supplemental natural phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizers as well as plenty of water. Growing Anything recommends kelp or other organic fertilizers during germination and once or twice a month during growth stages. Be sure to keep the soil moist with frequent watering and choose a mulch to conserve soil moisture.

If you are in USDA Zone 4-7, your Brussels sprouts are not likely going to survive through the winter, although they might do well in a greenhouse. Warmer zones (zones 8 and above) should have no problem growing through the winter months.

Growing Brussels Sprouts In Containers

Don’t have a full garden? Brussels sprouts can also be grown in pots. This tutorial explains that because Brussels sprouts are so large, they need a large container, like a 5 to 7-gallon pot or bucket. Choose a spot that is sunny but not too windy; they are quite top-heavy, so wind can knock them down.

Even when planting in pots, it’s a good idea to stake up your plants. Brussels can be grown indoors, although they do need ample sunlight (at least six hours each day) in order to thrive.

Harvesting And Storing Brussels Sprouts

Once most of the Brussels sprouts have reached about 1-2 inch in diameter, you can harvest the stalk at the base. You can also harvest individual heads, as the bottom ones will likely mature faster than the top. Use a sharp knife to remove from the stalk.

To ensure a better harvest, Mike at Garden’s Alive suggests “topping” the plant once it’s late in the season: This ensures that the plant gives all its energy into producing tastier sprouts from the bottom up. Brussels sprouts are annuals, so take the time to plant them right on the first planting, as they won’t carry over until next season.

Before bringing your harvest inside, be sure to check for pests—I’ve often found aphids and other critters living inside the top layer, sometimes quite deep into the sprout—even from store-bought sprouts!

Kitchn recommends not washing your harvest before storing, as this can damage your Brussels sprouts. Your sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator in a loose plastic wrap or a resealable plastic bag for about five days. Although other sites suggest much longer—up to three weeks!

Sprouts should have firm, tight heads, so if you find them wilting in storage, be sure to use them quickly. If you have a huge harvest, you can freeze your Brussels sprouts by washing, blanching, and then freezing. If possible, you can harvest the whole stalk, which will keep them fresher for longer.

It’s also important to note that the leaves of these big plants are edible, too. Just like broccoli and cauliflower, the leaves are often discarded in favor of the other parts of the plants, but these hearty, leafy greens are excellent sliced and sautéed instead of kale or collards.

Common Pests

It’s recommended that you don’t plant your Brussels sprouts in the same area as other cabbages or kales. Keeping those crops far apart will ensure soil health and reduce the incidence of pests. Consider companion planting your Brussels sprouts with beets. Beets provide the soil with essential minerals that Brussels sprouts need to thrive.

Since Brussels sprouts are top heavy like kale and collards, they will likely thrive with some stakes or other supports to keep them upright and happy. Practicing crop rotation is a great way to ensure that pests do not stick around.

Like other Brassicas, Brussels sprouts are susceptible to aphids, downy mildew, cabbage moths and other pests. Watch your seedlings closely to ensure none of these set in to damage your future sprout crop.

So, whether you want a cool crop to keep you busy during the gardening off-months, or you want to provide your family with lots of healthy greens, consider growing Brussels sprouts!

The Complete Guide Into the World of Companion Planting

Are you looking for a new method of gardening? If so, then companion planting is one direction that you should look into. As the home gardening sector continues to grow, different green-thumbed individuals are coming up with all kinds of new methods, including this innovative technique. With companion planting, you can plant different kinds of plants and harvest them together, and at the right time.

In this article we’ll provide you with some of the ‘need to know’ details that you should follow in order to become an expert companion planting gardener. We’ll look at the plants that you should plant together, and those that you shouldn’t. There are also several benefits that come with companion planting, some of which we’ll carefully take you through. But first, what is companion planting?

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a bit more than just the general notion that some specific plants can benefit others if they are planted close to each other. It has been defined as the planting of two or more crop species together in order to achieve benefits such as higher yields and pest control.

However, scientists look at the process with more exacting minds. They have proven that companion gardening embraces various strategies that increase the plant’s biodiversity in all agricultural ecosystems – and in what we like to call a simple garden! In layman’s language, it is two plants that help each other to grow.

Companion planting has a long history, but the methods of planting plants for the beneficial interaction are not always well documented in texts. In many situations, they are created from oral tradition, front porch musings and family recommendations. Despite these historical traditions and the science of horticultural farming, we often practice companion planting simply because it’s a practical planting method!

It allows you to grow herbs, veggies and exotic crops to their full potential. The process also helps to keep insects away, as well as helping you to maintain healthy soil. Eventually, you’ll note that the food you grow even tastes better. To kick-start your gardening adventure, here are some important reminders:

  • You should know that beans can grow with almost everything. You can plant them next to spinach and tomatoes for great results.
  • To increase their resistance to diseases, you should plant your horseradish next to your potatoes.
  • Summer cornfields are easily converted into fields of pumpkins in the autumn. In the past, the First Nations people of North America planted pumpkins together with pole and corn beans in a method called the ‘Three Sisters.’ The corn offers a sufficient ‘pole’ for the growth of beans, while the beans trap nitrogen in the soil, which is then greatly beneficial for the pumpkins. The pumpkins create a dense ground cover to stop the spread of weeds and to also keep away harmful pests.
  • Pumpkins also function best as a row type of crop when planted together with sunflowers.
  • It’s a good idea to plant some healthy nasturtium next to your squash, as it helps in keeping away those lousy squash vine borers.
  • Consider using sweet marjoram in your gardens and beds to make your herbs and vegetables sweeter!

Why Is Companion Planting Significant?

There are many benefits to companion planting. For instance, tomatoes taste better when planted together with basil. Similarly, harvesting them to make a lovely salad is easy, because they are located next to each other.

What are some of the other additional benefits?

It Helps in Pest Control

Companion planting is a traditional art that needs a great deal of planning, but this is worth it, as it will help you have a good harvest. Using the three sisters method that we’ve already mentioned, you can plant corn for trellises, and after the corn has grown to just a few inches, you can proceed with adding the beans and squash.

Here, the bean seeds feed the corn with nitrogen and provide shade for the roots. The corn, on the other hand, provides them with something easy for climbing. It repel pests and encourages growth!

Companion planting supports plant diversity that is beneficial to the soil, the ecosystem, and the gardener. Plant diversity provides insect diversity and decreases the number of parasites in your garden.

Saves on Space

Today, there are many plants that can be planted together. A good example is tomatoes and carrots. If you have a small garden, planting these two crops is not only an intelligent but also a nutritious gardening method.

If you want to plant potatoes, beans, and corn, then you don’t have to use up a considerable portion of your garden. It will be more straightforward and far much beneficial if you plant these three together!

Enhanced Productivity through Companion Planting

Companion planting assists in pollination and the control of pests, and helps you to make the best use of your gardening space. All of these factors eventually go a long way in increasing your crop productivity. Nowadays, most large-scale farms grow plants in a mono-crop type of system. This means that you’ll probably find large tracts of fields containing only a single crop.

Apparently, it’s easier to water and care for the plants in such a system, but you’d have to use a lot of chemicals to control the pests. Let’s use the example of tomatoes. Here, every tomato hornworm in the area will be attracted to your farm. However, if you plant them with lettuce, you’ll experience some exciting findings. The tomato offers the right amount of shade for the salad, while the latter repels all tomato pests.

Companion Planting is Viewed As God’s Natural Way of Growing Plants

How do things grow in nature? They are mixed in all manner of plant varieties. Therefore, we can say that nature knows best! Companion planting reduces and improves flavours, and allows you to plant more varieties at one time.

Plants such as basil are good when planted together with different garden crops. They improve the flavour of tomatoes and lettuce, and repel bugs such as mosquitoes. Who wouldn’t want a plant in their garden that keeps away mosquitoes?

What Should You Plant Together?

Through the centuries, we’ve cultivated our gardens and noticed that certain plants grow well together. Some vegetables, flowers, and herbs are good for the soil, and each other! We’ve also seen that others repel pests. All in all, companion planting offers a good blueprint for a much-improved garden yield.

Vegetables

Artichoke
Here is an architectural type of plant that offers shade and form to your vegetable plot. It’s not a delicate plant to grow, and you can plant it together with crops such as tomatoes, carrots, and beans.

Asparagus
Asparagus is a perennial crop that is perfect for companion planting. You can grow it together with parsley and tomatoes.

Beetroot
Beetroot is a crop which is best for companion planting as it does not take up too much space. You can grow it together with plants such as Broccoli, beans, cabbage, lettuce, onions and brassicas, and passion fruits.

Broad Beans
Beans, like all other legumes, are perfect for adding nitrogen to the soil. They can easily be planted together with corn, potatoes, celery, cucumber, and soybeans.

Broccoli and Calabrese
One of the best things about companion planting is that you can grow brassicas at any time of the year. You can plant them together with onions, beets, cereals, and potatoes.

Brussel Sprouts
Wondering which plants with which you should grow your Brussels sprouts? We found that they go well with sage, thyme, malting barley, and clover.

Cabbage
Cabbage is a common vegetable that adds a great taste to your food and improves the process of digestion. It’s also easy to plant, and it grows well with other vegetables such as celery and beans.

Carrots
Carrots are another beautiful vegetable that is recommended to people suffering from eyesight problems. To get the best out of your carrot plantation, you can grow them together with other vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, and alliums.

Cauliflower
Grow your cauliflower together with plants such as celery, spinach, peas, and beans.

Celeriac
Celeriac, unlike other vegetables, is not an easy plant to grow. It requires rich water-retentive, fertile soils. Grow it together with other herbs such as brassicas, cucumbers and bush beans in order to get high yields.

Celery
We all love to add celery to our foods for its spicy flavour. Well, you only need to grow it in your polytunnel with other crops, such as bush beans, cucumbers, and brassicas.

Courgette
Your Courgette needs a lot of pollinators. As such, one of the best plants to grow together with your Courgette are the Nasturtiums.

Fennel
Fennel is merely the name given to two closely related crops. These are the herb fennel and the Florence fennel. You can grow it together with vegetables that need ample shade, such as summer salads.

Garlic
Do you enjoy cooking with garlic? You should grow it together with lettuce, celery, peas, potatoes, and cucumbers.

Kale
This is one of the most common vegetables, and extremely trendy right now. You can plant it together with other vegetables and fruits such as cabbage, tomatoes, cauliflower, and passion fruit.

Mushrooms
These are some of the oldest plants on earth. They can grow almost anywhere, but to get the best out of your mushrooms you need to choose their best companion plant. They go well with vegetables such as turnips, Brussels sprouts, turnips and fruit trees, as well as cabbage.

Onion (bulbing)
You can plant your onions with many different kinds of vegetables. Some good examples here include broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, passion fruit, and cabbage.

Pak Choi
This type of vegetable requires high levels of nitrogen in the soil. Therefore, you should plant it together with plants such as beans and peas. To repel pests, you could also use onions or garlic.

Parsnip
From the scientific name Pastinaca Sativa, these grow well with different fruit

Peas and Mange Tout
They both grow well with plants such as turnip, cauliflower, garlic, and brassicas. Here, it’s important to remember the role peas plants take in adding nitrogen into the soil.

Potatoes
These plants are one of the most common vegetables, famous in stews, and as either mashed potatoes or as a jacket potato. They grow well together with beans, corn, passion fruit, and brassicas.

Radishes
Growing radishes is easy, and ideally planted with eggplants, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, pole beans and common beans. All these companion plants help in producing high yields and adding a great taste to your crop!

Spinach and Swiss Chard
These two plants are a great addition to any garden. They both produce large green leaves that can be added into salads and a variety of tasty recipes. You can grow your spinach and Swiss chard together with passion fruit, cauliflower, and brassicas.

Runner Beans
If you are planning to grow runner beans, you should consider planting them with plants such as strawberries, radishes, and celery.

Sweet Potatoes
You can plant your sweet potatoes together with beans, corn or even peas.

Turnips
Turnips grow well with plants like broccoli and peas..

Fruits

There are also different fruits which grow well once planted together with other crops. You can learn about them by simply looking at the table below:

Types of Fruits

Companion Plants

Apricot

Chives, garlic, leeks, nasturtium, and daffodils

Aubergines

Potatoes and tomatoes

Blackberries

Strawberries, pine trees, oak trees, yarrow and dewberries

Cape Gooseberries

Yarrow, pine and oak trees

Cucumber

Beans and peas

Figs

Lemon balm, dandelions, borage, mustards, marigold

Grapes

Chives, geraniums, mustards, oregano, peas, clover and blackberries.

Kiwi Fruit

Carrots, swiss chard, carrots, spinach

Melon

Pigweed, chamomile, summer savoury, sow thistle

Citrus Fruits

Yarrow, dill, fennel and lemon balm

Peach

Basil, tansy, southernwood

Peppers and chillis

Alliums, basil

Pineapples

Clover, chives, garlic, southernwood, daffodils

Raspberries

Tansy

Squash

Corn, beans, okra

Strawberries

Bush beans, lettuce, onions, passion fruits and spinach

Sweetcorn

Squash, pumpkins, pole beans

Tomatoes

Cabbage, broccoli, roses, peppers, asparagus

Exotics

Exotic plants can also make good companion for other plants. Let’s take a look at some of the most beneficial plants in this category.

Exotic Plants

Companions

Coffee plant

Potatoes, kale, beans

Ginger

Spinach, carrots, eggplants, spinach, eggplants

Grapefruit

Thyme, yarrow, companion dill, borage, calendula and cosmos

Lemongrass

Peppers and tomatoes

Olives

Thyme, borage, calendula, wormwood

Pomegranate

Basil, thyme, summer savory

Tea

Beans, potatoes and peas

Vanilla

Banana plants and arrowroots (plants which can provide good shade)

Herbs and Spices

These plants are also good for companion planting with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Spices and Herbs

Companion Plants

Basil

Tomato, oregano, pepper, petunias, grapes

Chamomile

Most herbs, cucumber, onion, cabbage

Chervil

Radish, broccoli, lettuce

Chives

Roses, apples, carrots and grapes

Cumin

Cucumbers, potatoes, cabbages

Curry leaves

Tomatoes, onions and garlic

Comfrey

Nutrient accumulators or mulch

Coriander

Chervil, anise, cabbages and carrots

Dill

Coriander, cabbages, carrots and anise

Lavender

Lettuce, onions, tomatoes, oregano, sage, rosemary, basil, lemon

Lemon balm

Eggplant

Mint

Eggplant, lettuce, peas, broccoli

Mustard

Carrots, corn, cucumbers

Mizuna and Mibuna

Beetroot and beans

Oregano

Peppers, pumpkin, grapes

Parsley

Apple, asparagus, corn, tomatoes

Rosemary

Beans, brassicas, and carrots

Saffron

Sea holly, lanceolate leaves and Chinese chives

Sage

Rosemary, cabbages, beans

Sorrel

Strawberries, cabbage and tomatoes

Tarragon

Eggplants and most vegetables

Thyme

Cabbage, potato, strawberries and Brussels sprouts

Yarrow

Aromatic plants

Flowers

Do you have a flower garden, or are you thinking of starting one? If so, with the right companion plants yours will be attractive and healthy. Start by checking out this list of good companion crops for your flowers:

Flowers

Companion Plants

Antirrhinum

Grapes and lettuce

Azalea

Kalmia latifolia, pieris japonica

Borage

Squash, tomatoes and strawberries

Calendula

Mint and sage

Canna

Strawberries

Celosia

Petunia, ageratum and marigold

Dahlia

Agapanthus, alstroemeria, anthemis tinctoria

Fuchsia

Torenia and begonias

Marigolds

Pepper, gourds, roses, alliums, brassicas, zucchini

Maurandya

Lavender, wormwood, sage, thyme

Menconopsis

Cimicifuga, variegated Solomon’s seal and under ferns

Nasturtium

Beans, brassicas, cucumbers, fruit trees and tomatoes

Pelargonium

Marigolds, lavender, geraniums and yarrow

Sunflower

Squash and cucumber

Sweet Peas

Alyssum. Lobelia, roses, catmint and lavender

Wallflower

Garlic, sweet woodruff and garlic

What Should You Not Plant Together?

Here are some of the plants that do not go well with your vegetables, fruits, exotics, herbs and spices:

Vegetable

Bad Companion Plants

Artichoke

Beans and peas

Asparagus

Onion, potatoes and garlic

Beetroot

Runner or pole beans

Broadbeans

Fennel, soybeans and dry beans

Brocolli and Calabrese

Peppers, beans, strawberries

Brussel Sprouts

Mustards, nightshades

Cabbage

Grapes

Carrots

Dill, parsnip and radish

Cauliflower

Dill, parsnip and radishes

Celeriac

Aster flowers, and corn

Courgette

Corn and aster flowers

Fennel

Almost everything

French beans

Fennel soybeans

Garlic

Cabbages and grapes

Kale

Peppers

Kohlrabi

Pole beans

Leeks

Swiss chard

Lettuce

Cabbage, celery, parsley

Mushrooms

All plants with small leaves as they do not provide good shade

Onion

Peas and lentils

Pak Choi

Peas

Parsnip

Lettuce, onions, carrots

Peas and Mange Tout

Pak Choi, onions, peppers

Potatoes

Carrot, cucumber, pumpkin

Radish

Grapes

Runner Beans

Celery, grapes

Shallots

Grapes, celery, peppers

Spinach and Swiss Chard

Leeks and strawberries

Spring Onion

Lentils and peas

Sweet potato

Cabbage, corn, cauliflower

Turnip

Hedge mustard and knotweed

Fruits

Types Of Fruits

Bad Companion Plants

Apricot

Peppers

Aubergines

Peppers and tomatoes

Blackberries

Tomatoes

Cape Gooseberries

Tomatoes

Cucumber

Potatoes and aromatic herbs

Figs

Eggplants

Grapes

Radishes and potatoes

Kiwi Fruit

Eggplants

Melon

Peas and beans

Citrus Fruits

Maize, cowpea, sorghum and sweet potatoes

Peach

Corn, cowpeas, sweet potatoes

Peppers and chillis

Apricots, tomatoes, black walnuts

Pineapples

Walnut trees and eucalyptus

Raspberries

Peas, beans and other nitrogenous plants

Squash

Potatoes

Strawberries

All members of the cabbage family

Sweetcorn

Celery and tomatoes

Tomatoes

Peppers and chillis, beets, brassicas, rosemary

Exotics

Exotic Plants

Bad Companions

Coffee plant

Pumpkins, carrots and cucumbers

Ginger

Walnut trees

Grapefruit

Cabbages and spinach

Lemongrass

Plants which consumer a lot of water such as the eucalyptus

Olives

All plants with small leaves as they do not provide a good shade

Pomegranate

Eggplants

Tea

Walnut trees and other water consuming plants

Vanilla

Peas and beans

Herbs and Spices

Spices and Herbs

Bad Companion Plants

Basil

Thyme, common rue

Chamomile

Potatoes and radish

Chervil

Radish

Chives

Beans and peas

Cumin

Peas and beans

Curry leaves

Eggplants

Comfrey

Walnut and eucalyptus trees

Coriander

Dill

Dill

Cilantro or coriander

Lavender

Common rue and thyme

Lemon balm

Mustards and mints

Mint

Lavender, dill, cilantro

Mustard

Lemon balm, cabbages and grapes

Mizuna and Mibuna

Thyme and common rue

Oregano

Radish, potatoes, common rue, thyme

Parsley

Common rue and thyme

Rosemary

Peas and beans

Saffron

Plants belonging to the allium family

Sage

Any member of the allium family

Sorrel

Alliums and lettuce

Tarragon

Common rue and members of the allium family

Thyme

Common rue and allium family crops

Yarrow

Allium family plants and common rue

Flowers

Flowers

Bad Companion Plants

Antirrhinum

Tomato and tobacco

Azalea

Eggplants

Borage

Tomatoes and cauliflower

Calendula

Plants that attract aphids and spider mites

Canna

Walnut trees and other trees that consumer a lot of water from the soil

Celosia

Plants of the allium family

Dahlia

Fava beans and potatoes

Fuchsia

Tomatoes and other solanaceae

Marigolds

Avoid planting near walnut trees

Maurandya

You should also plant near walnut trees

Meconopsis

Plants that attract pests such as aphids and caterpillars

Nasturtium

Cauliflowers

Pelargonium

Walnut trees or plants which consume a lot of water from the soil

Sunflower

Pole beans

Sweet Peas

Avoid planting them near plants with aphids

Wallflower

Avoid insect and pest infested crops

Why Should You Use a Polytunnel?

A polytunnel is similar to a greenhouse, only that it’s much more effective and reliable. Polytunnels come with a variety of different covers and designs.

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose a polytunnel for your garden:

Cost-Effective

You need to spend quite a bit of money just to build a small greenhouse. You can buy a polytunnel that is more than four times in size for less money, and use it to plant a variety of flowers and vegetables.

Portable

You’ll also find that a polytunnel is not fixed to the ground like a greenhouse. Hence, you can move it from one point to another, depending on what suits you best. Interestingly, it’s much easier to move your polytunnel than to replace soil in a greenhouse!

Free From Soil Diseases

Borrowing from the above point, you can avoid soil diseases that damage your crops by simply shifting your polytunnel around your garden. In a greenhouse, you’d probably have to cut down your entire crop if you find that a disease from the soil has affected it, but this is not the case with a polytunnel.

Summary

Isn’t companion planting exciting and potentially very rewarding? From this article, we can draw some important conclusions. First, planting two ‘friendly’ plants together saves you on farm space, as well as on the additional costs of gardening. For instance, the cost of buying items like fertilizers and tools will be greatly reduced. Also, it makes gardening a lot easier.

A good example is found when you need to water your plants. With companion planting, you can do it all at the same time. Another essential point is that plants are healthier when varieties are grown together. When nitrogenous plants like beans are planted together with corn, this ensures that your corn grows to higher heights, and it will be a lot tastier.

Of course, there are those plants that cannot ‘stand’ each other. Planting such crops together makes them grow poorly with stunted growth and poor nutrients. Others won’t even get the privilege of enjoying the sun.

All in all, with the growing rise in home gardening technology and new techniques, the polytunnel is arguably one of the best places to grow your crops. Here, you can grow two companion plants and harvest them within the shortest time possible. As a garden farmer, you’ll definitely feel proud when you start harvesting healthy vegetables and fruits at a low cost, all from using the right resources. We have come a long way from traditional planting methods!

Roasted, fried, microwaved or boiled, just the thought of the nutty, cabbage-like flavor of Brussel sprouts has my mouth watering. While they’re delicious from the store, there’s something so much better about growing Brussel sprouts in your own garden. Watching the little heads mature into the familiar balls is extremely rewarding.

The Brussel sprout plant is not the easiest plant to grow, but it’s worth the effort. I’ve grown Brussel sprouts a few times and managed to get some sprouts for harvest, but often they were tiny.

The reason? I was growing in a garden that was semi-shaded and never in full sun. Growth for all my plants was slow, including sprouts. Thankfully, the constant partial shade kept the area cool, which the Brussel sprout plant loves.

In my current garden, where full sun is available nearly everywhere, it’s actually a bit tougher to grow cool-season crops. Our summers are hot-hot-hot, and our winters are freezing. The ideal cool temperatures don’t last too long, so planting at the right moment is crucial. I finally nailed the trick, though, and now we have Brussel sprouts from the garden all the time.

If you’ve also struggled to get this plant to take off, or if you want to take a stab at it for the first time, this guide will give you everything you need to know to make the veggie thrive in your garden.

Brussel Sprout Plant Info

  • Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Soil: Loam, Sandy, Clay, PH between 6.5 to 7.0, fertile, well-drained
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, at least 6 hours per day
  • Planting:
    • Start Indoors: 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date
    • Start Indoors (in fall): 12 to 16 weeks before the first frost date
    • Hardening Off: 7 to 10 days before transplanting
    • Transplant Outdoors: When seedlings are 3 inches tall
  • Spacing: 2 to 3 inches between plants and 2 to 3 feet between rows
  • Depth: ¼ to ½ inches seed depth
  • Best Companions: Onion, corn, potato, celery, dill, peppermint, rosemary, sage, chamomile, peas, tomato, bush beans, spinach, garlic
  • Worst Companions: Pole beans, strawberry, kohlrabi, lettuce
  • Watering: Water thoroughly during transplanting, 1 to 2 inches per week during dry weather
  • Fertilizing: Apply nitrogen fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks after transplanting
  • Common Problems: Flea beetles, aphids, clubroot, downy mildew, cabbage root maggots, white mold, cutworms, thrips, leafminers, bolting
  • Harvest: After 80 to 90 days of planting, when the tiny heads are green, firm and 1 to 2 inches thick

Brussel Sprout Varieties

First, you’ll need to decide which variety to grow based on your goals and needs. Here are a few you might want to consider.

  • Nautic – This is the type to grow if you’re concerned about disease resistance. It’s also flavorful and cold tolerant. Matures in 120 days and produces particularly sweet buttons.
  • Dagan – With this variety, the sprouts will be ready to eat in 100 days. It also looks particularly pretty on the stalk if you want to sell or display your sprouts because it produces bright, uniform, medium-sized veggies on a tall, straight plant.
  • Doric -This variety matures in 120 days. It produces uniform, dark-leafed sprouts with a strong stalk. It’s cold hardy, and the flavor improves after being exposed to cold. Disease resistant.
  • Red Ball -For the gardener looking to add color to their plot and dinner plate, this is the variety to check out, since it has pretty purple leaves that get more vibrant as the plant grows. Matures in 120 days.
  • Tasty Nuggets – This variety is quick to mature. It takes just 78 days to grow small, nutty 1-inch balls. It has a reputation as a reliable grower that is easier than some others.
  • Oliver – If you are growing Brussel sprouts with the plan to freeze them, try this variety. The flavor actually improves as it sits in the freezer. It’s also a dependable grower that matures in 90 days.

How to Plant Brussel Sprouts

While growing Brussel sprouts is a bit more challenging than, say, growing lettuce, being armed with information about this brassica will help you care for and get the most from this plant.

When to plant

The goal is to have Brussel sprouts planted out at least two months before the first frost in the fall. Since this date varies depending on your location, count backward to decide on the optimum seed starting and translating dates. Brussel sprout plants require a long growing season to reach maturity. In some areas, gardeners may have better luck with direct sowing.

Where I am (Zone 5b), I need to start Brussel sprouts indoor before my last frost date and transplant around May or June for plants to reach maturity by the first frost. The challenge in my climate is the scorching summer. Some years, I’m lucky, and the summers are cooler than usual with lots of rainfall, which is ideal for growing plants like cabbage or Brussel sprouts.

You can also start these indoors in the fall 12 to 16 weeks before the last frost date, or direct sow outdoors in the fall in warm areas.

They’ll be ready to plant outdoors when they are about 3-inches tall.

Planting Zones

Brussel sprouts are generally ideal for planting in zones 3-10, depending on the variety, though you can even find some that will thrive in zone 2. This is a cool-season vegetable and tolerates a light frost. Some varieties even taste better after exposure to a freeze.

Sunlight Requirements

They prefer full sun, but I’ve had some luck growing Brussel sprouts in partial shade. Just be aware that with less sun, the harvest won’t be as impressive.

Ideal Soil Condition and Temperature

Brussel sprouts prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.5 to 7. They like fertile, well-drained soil, but can handle a little bit of clay or sand.

Cool soil temperature is important early on in the plant’s growth cycle. Too much nitrogen isn’t good for this plant.

Ways to Plant

They are best grown outdoors in beds (raised, or not). Containers are fine, but choose ones that are at least 12-inches wide and plant only one brussel sprout plant per pot.

Plant Brussels sprouts in firm soil or provide some type of support or wind shelter if you reside in a windy area. The plants grow tall but aren’t always good at supporting themselves in the wind.

I’ve had issues with wind toppling over plants, and it’s incredibly frustrating. If the stalk snaps in half, you’re out of luck. If the wind is a concern for you, you can also plant wind blocking plants like corn alongside your Brussel sprouts to keep them sheltered from strong gusts.

Expected Germination Time

While this depends on the variety and particular conditions, seeds should germinate within a week or so.

Spacing

Leave about 18-inches between plants when setting them out in their permanent location, with 3-feet between rows. Or plant 24-inches apart in a grid. Plant seeds about 1/2-inch deep.

How to Care for Brussel Sprouts

Watering

Brussel sprouts like moist, well-watered soil. Moist soil helps maintain ideal soil temperature. Give at least 1 to 2 inches of water per week during dry weather. Make sure to give it plenty of water during transplanting.

Temperature

The key to growing Brussel sprouts is to keep them from getting too warm. These plants prefer cool weather, but not freezing. To germinate, seeds require soil between 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. While most varieties are cold hardy, Brussel sprouts won’t survive once the temperatures hit below freezing unless protected in some way. With a cold frame or greenhouse, however, you can enjoy freshly picked sprouts all winter long.

Mulching

Mulch around the base of these plants to help retain moisture and keep the soil cool during hotter days.

Fertilizing

This plant is a heavy feeder, but watch out. Too much nitrogen can cause misshapen tiny sprouts to form. Brussel sprout plants are hungry for boron, though.

Low boron content in the soil will cause the stalk to develop small sprouts. Always perform a soil test before fertilizing to prevent nutrient imbalances. Never make assumptions based on observations.

In general, apply fertilizer every four weeks.

Pruning

I’ve never felt the need to prune my Brussel sprouts, but if you find the leaves are crowding out nearby plants, it won’t hurt to trim them. Some gardeners prune the leaves from the bottom up as they harvest the sprouts. If any leaves are turning yellow or shriveling, remove them.

Weeding

Mulching around the base while your growing Brussel sprouts will help to suppress weed growth. Make sure to keep weeds away from the base, or you’ll likely have a smaller plant.

Crop Rotation & Succession Planting

Brussel sprouts are not a good candidate for succession planting. Instead, we suggest planting extra plants in case of wind damage or pest issues. Rotate these plants to a new bed each year to prevent clubroot and reduce the chance of disease proliferation.

Common Problems Growing Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts can be prone to bolting, which is when the plant grows flowers and goes to seed. If this happens, they won’t produce those delicious little mini-cabbages. Grow varieties that are bolt-resistant and keep young plants warm if temperatures drop below 50 degrees for too long.

Rust

Rust is a fungal disease that causes rust-colored bumps in the leaves of plants. Plant rust resistant sprout varieties if you struggle with this in your garden. Water in the early hours and avoid overhead watering. Space plants so they get plenty of air circulation.

Powdery Mildew (White Mold)

Prevent the spread of disease by sanitizing tools and seed starting equipment. Destroy any infected plant and remove and replace the soil it was growing in. Water in the morning and keep plants spaced out. Don’t allow weeds to encroach on plants, because they can carry the disease.

Clubroot

Clubroot is a soil-borne fungus that can decimate crops. Make sure to rotate your crop location each year to prevent it. Remove infected plants and replace or solarize the soil.

Cabbage Worm

Brussel sprouts belong to the same family as kale, collars, and broccoli. Anyone who loves these vegetables knows that brassicas are a magnet for quite a few pests.

My biggest nemesis, the cabbage worm, is the bane of my existence each year. The small green worms wreak havoc on seedlings, and row covers or other protection are essential to prevent large infestations and devastation of brassica-family veggies.

I have a patch in my garden dedicated to brassicas (it changes each year, of course) and I’ve begun using a pop-up insect cover to prevent the worms from munching away at leaves.

While picking them off and dumping them in soapy water can control the issue, I prefer to prevent it altogether since the worms can easily ruin an entire bed of seedlings in less than a week.

Aphids

Aphids are another issue that may affect Brussel sprouts and other brassicas. Use a soapy water spray to control the pests or directly spray strong jets of water from the hose to force the insects off your plants (just be careful not to use too strong a spray and knock over your top-heavy plants).

Flea Beetles

Use row covers to protect your sprouts from this beetle-like pest. Mulch also helps limit populations. Use naturally derived spinosad and permethrin to kill them. You can also use diatomaceous earth and neem oil.

Cabbage Root Maggots

This pest impacts all cole crops. Use sticky traps and cabbage collars to control them. If things get bad, you can pull up plants, swish the roots in clean water and replant in clean soil.

Leafminers

You’ll know you have leafminers when you see the squiggly white tunnels running through your leaves. Unless the infestation is extreme, this is really just a cosmetic problem in Brussel sprouts. Try row covers to prevent them.

Thrips

Thrips dine on the sap of plants. Keep your tools sanitized to prevent them from taking hold in the first place. You can control them with sticky traps or neem oil.

Companion Plants for Brussel Sprouts

Best

Plant near herbs such as sage or rosemary to ward off annoying pests. When they are small, you can plant short-season crops like peas in between sprouts. The best companion plants for Brussel sprouts include:

  • Onion
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Dill
  • Chamomile
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Garlic

Worst

Keep away from the following plants:

  • Pole beans
  • Strawberries
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce

How to Harvest and Store Brussel Sprouts

When to Harvest

It’s best to harvest in the late fall or early winter. Buds will be large enough to eat – around 1-2 inches in size – depending on the variety. Plants mature from the bottom up, so you may want to harvest only part of the plant at a time. Grab the sprouts and twist to remove. Plants will continue to grow so that new sprouts may form. Days to maturity vary but it can range from 80-120 days after planting.

Storage

Brussel sprouts last up to a few weeks kept in the fridge. Freezing is possible, but for most varieties, the taste and texture will suffer. If you cut off the entire stalk rather than harvesting just the buds, you can put the stalk in water as you would a cut flower.

Seed Saving

Once spent, remove the plants that have not performed well in terms of yield. You don’t want to save seeds from underperforming plants. Let the successful plants overwinter.

In the spring of the plant’s second year, a seed stalk will form and produce seed pods. Once dried out and audibly rattling they can be removed and allowed to dry out completely. Remove the seeds from the pods and store properly for future use.

If you keep your Brussel sprout plants around other brassicas, you may want to cage them to prevent cross-pollination. Otherwise, plant them away from each other.

A Tasty Brassica Worth the Effort

Brussel sprouts have a bad reputation as a vegetable. Kids apparently hate them, and I know plenty of adults who still shove them to the side of their plates. This negative association confounds me.

I think that many vegetables are disliked because people don’t know how to prepare them correctly. If your only introduction to b-sprouts has been via a frozen package from the grocery store, it’s no surprise that you cannot stand them. Frozen Brussel sprouts are mushy and lack texture. Nothing beats freshly-picked sprouts, though.

My husband, who is a self-professed Brussel sprout hater now eats them when I prepare them sautéed in a pan with a bit of honey to add sweetness and some cranberries to add tartness.

Caramelizing Brussel sprouts softens their strong cabbage-like flavor and mellows out the bitterness. They’re also equally enjoyable roasted in the oven or shaved raw into a salad.

My favorite way to eat them in roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper until crisp and added to a harvest bowl with shredded chicken, cranberries, mashed carrots, and gravy.

Looking for some recipes for your fresh brussel sprout harvest? Here are a few ideas:

  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad
  • Chrissy Teigen’s Brussel Sprouts

Don’t forget that you can eat the leaves of the plant as well. Treat it like kale.

Brussel sprouts are worth the effort once harvest time comes and you’re crunching into them at the dinner table. Armed with a little knowledge, you’ll find the little cabbages aren’t as challenging to grow as you may have heard. We’d love to know how you eat your sprouts – tell us in the comments.

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Brussels Sprouts : Tips from Seed to Harvest

These nutritious miniature cabbages are often under celebrated and even disliked. Don’t give up on them just yet!

It is well worth noting that often store bought Brussels sprouts are picked too early, and it shows in their bitter flavor and tough texture. Picking them fresh from the farm or garden after a few frosts sweetens the flavor and makes them tender, offering a whole different experience!

Try them roasted, along with some other yummy fall veggies.

A Little History

As the name suggests these mini cabbages were first cultivated in Brussels. Like broccoli, its ancestors first grew wild in the low countries of Europe. The Belgians were the first to select the plant for its enlarged auxiliary buds.

Nutrition Facts

Brussels contain high amounts of vegetable protein and carbohydrates.

Growing Conditions

Brussels Sprouts are a cool weather crop that grow best at around 60-65° F. They are one of the last crops left in the garden and can even survive through the winter if the conditions are favorable. Generally treated like broccoli or cauliflower, Brussels sprouts prefer well-drained soil and do not require excessive nutrients. Too much nitrogen will make for lots of leaves but not so much on the sprouts. They want regular and generous watering (brassicas in general like having wet leaves, so water freely). Harvest usually begins around mid October and can go through the winter some years if you are just harvesting individuals sprouts rather than whole stalks.

Timing the Crop

Plant by seed in early April, usually indoors to allow for the best germination. Mid-May is about right for transplanting starts in to the garden in our climate. They don’t really like the heat but will survive through our hot summers, yielding a delightful harvest very late in the season. Exposure to a few frosts enhances the flavor of the sprouts.

Pruning Tricks

If any of the lower leaves of the plant show any yellowing, at once strip them off. (By the way: the younger, tender leaves can be cooked up much like collards or turnip greens, if that’s your idea of a good time.) Some growers remove all leaves to accelerate harvest, but that practice is not essential in the home garden, and not practical for us on the farm. Some believe that the sprouts develop better if the lowermost six to eight leaves are removed from the sides of the stalk as the sprouts develop. Two or three additional leaves can be removed each week, but several of the largest, healthiest, fully expanded upper leaves should always be left intact on top to continue feeding the plant. Another practice is topping, or cuttiing off the growing tip of the plant when the sprouts are present but immature. See photo above for an example of where to cut. Some sources say that is not critical for home growers, but others swear that it is utterly essential for good production. Late August to mid September, or 3 weeks before the first harvest, is the best time to prune the tops in our region. The reason for doing it is to send the remaining energy of the plant in to sizing up your sprouts rather the in to creating new leaf growth. We do prune the tops of our sprouts in September.

This is a Brussels sprout plant in mid-August. We’ll prune the top in mid September to stimulate larger sprouts in late fall. Cut where the line is on the photo.

Harvesting

As the sprouts come ready, harvest them from the bottom up, which is how they mature (the all-at-once harvesting of agribusiness is one reason store-bought samples taste so bad). Keep them picked and they’ll grow more! Harvest sprouts in the home garden after the first or second frost, taking just those sprouts which are big enough, starting from the bottom up. Continue harvesting for as long as you can find more to pick, which might even be well into snow season. Once plants begin to set sprouts, they can become a bit top-heavy and could be prone to wind damage (or even be blown over). Many suggest staking the plants or hilling up soil around the stems to support them; we have never had any problem with unstaked plants here at the farm.

Overwintering and Storing

Brussels can be overwintered in the garden, right on the stalk. They need to be mulched, or covered with a structure wrapped with burlap, before the hard freeze. Mulching helps to keep them at an even temperature and prevents the constant thaw/freeze which promotes rot. For mulch you can pile straw or hay in a mound around the plants, and/or cover with a cardboard box or a similar structure used for covering shrubs in winter. Some years, the snow falls perfectly to make this happen naturally. When the snow falls deep before a freeze, it forms an insulated refrigerator right around your plants! To store Brussels sprouts, keep them in the fridge for at least a few weeks. Remember to cull the yellowed or blackened leaves often, and give the bottom (stalk end) a fresh cut. Compost all those food scraps!

Gardening Tips Gardening brassica brussels sprouts garden harvest mulch nutrition over-wintering pruning soil health storage transplanting

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