Brassica (Cabbage Family) vegetables are said to have been cultivated for thousands of years, the plants have a great tolerance to salt and limestone and other harsh soils. No one knows for sure where the first plants started. These wild plants that resemble leafy kale were selected and crossbred to what has become the varieties we know today like cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts, horseradish and Wasabi to name just a few. Many of the Brassica family of plants grow in winter and were good food and nutrition in colder climates thousands of years ago.
In brief, Brussel Sprout plants are very high in vitamin C. Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. Brussels sprouts can also be included in dieting programs, as it is a low calorie food. Along with broccoli and other Brassica vegetables, Brussels sprouts are a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. The compound is also used as an adjuvant therapy for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a disease of the head and neck caused by human papillomavirus (usually types 6 and 11) that causes growths in the airway that can lead to death. Boiling reduces anticancer properties. In European folk medicine, Brussels sprout leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw Brussels sprouts may be placed in a Brussels sprout leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort. Some claim it is effective in relieving painfully engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.
Sun: Full Sun
Spacing: 12 – 24”
Optimum Soil Ph: 5.5-7.0, Ideal 6.0-6.5
Days To Maturity: 90 Days
Sowing Method: Start Indoors
Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost.
While starting seeds indoors is recommended, you may also direct sow seeds 4 months before the first fall frost. You may also have luck finding seedlings at a nursery.
Raised beds are especially recommended for cold season vegetables, especially when seasons are changing and temps are not consistent.
Work fertilizer into soil a few days before planting or transplanting.
Plant transplant seedlings 12-24 inches apart.
If direct sowing seeds, plant ½ inch deep and 2-3 inches apart. Thin plants to 12-24 inches apart when they reach 6 inches tall.
Water well at time of planting/transplanting.
Fertilize three weeks after transplanting.
Mulch to retain moisture and keep the soil temperature cool.
Do not cultivate, roots are shallow and susceptible to damage.
Harvest sprouts from the bottom of the stalk when they reach about 1 inch in diameter.
Do not wash the sprouts before storing them, only right before use.
Keep in plastic for up to 5 days, in the refrigerator.
Protect the plant by mulching with straw or providing a cover if you plan to harvest into the winter.