Sow 3-4 seeds per pot, 1cm (1/2”) deep, under very bright light. Thin to the strongest plant. Transplants should be set out when they have 6-8 true leaves. Space transplants 45-60cm (18-24″) apart in rows 75-90cm (30-36″) apart.
Ideal pH: 6.0-7.5. Plant in humus-rich soil amended with composted manure. Mix ¼ cup complete organic fertilizer into the soil under each transplant. High nitrogen levels result in loose sprouts with internal browning, so do not fertilize after midsummer. Cool temperatures during sprout development are important for compact, quality sprouts.
Sprouts are sweeter after moderate freezes. Pick when sprouts are firm and well-formed, beginning with the ones at the bottom. The upper sprouts continue to form and enlarge as the bottom ones are harvested. For a once-over harvest, to ensure you have enough for your holiday meal, pinch out the growing point at the top of the stem when the lower sprouts are 1-2 cm (½-¾”) in diameter. A full stem of evenly sized sprouts will develop in about 2 weeks.
After harvesting the sprouts, there may be another harvest in early spring where winters are mild. The plant sends up long, edible flower stalks which are tender and sweet when steamed, or served raw with a dip.
Diseases and Pests
Slugs and snails – Sprinkle broken eggshells around plants to deter.
Flea Beetles – Use row covers to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer. Control weeds. Nematodes feed on the larvae of these pests.
Cutworms – Control weeds. Cardboard collars around each plant give good protection.
All Brassicas benefit from chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, and sage. Avoid planting near eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes.
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