Brussels sprouts are a tasty classic among winter vegetables. If you want to successfully grow the vegetable cabbage from the cruciferous plant family, you need plenty of space, a lot of patience and should stick to the schedule that Mother Nature sets for cultivation. Although Brussels sprouts are sown in spring, the harvest – depending on the variety – takes place from September through the entire winter until next spring. In the more than 160 days between sowing and the beginning of harvest, the kale needs to be cherished and cared for. This effort rewards the healthy vegetable with an inimitable nutty-sweet aroma.


The right time to sow depends on the variety chosen. Brussels sprouts can be sown directly into the bed from the 2nd week of April. Experienced gardening enthusiasts, however, advise sowing in March in a frost-free room. Inexpensive pot plates or seed trays filled with potting soil are very suitable. Alternatively, a cold frame or cold box with a lid for sowing the Brussels sprouts has proven itself.

The Brussels sprouts seeds are covered with the earth a maximum of 1 cm thick. To moisten the seeds and substrate, the use of a spray bottle is recommended, which distributes the irrigation water more finely. The first seedlings appear very soon – usually after 1 week – which are pricked out at a minimum distance of 15 cm. When sowing in pot plates, 3 Brussels sprouts are placed in a pot, of which the two weakest are sorted out as part of the isolation. Pricking ensures that only the strongest seedlings get into the vegetable patch, which has a positive effect on the subsequent harvest.


Since Brussels sprouts are one of the strong eaters, the following location conditions for the bed must be observed:

  • Sunny to partially shaded, sheltered location.
  • Nutrient-rich, humus-rich, slightly loamy soil.
  • In preparation, loosen the soil deeply.
  • Enrich with good garden compost and horn meal.
  • Place the young plants in the bed from mid-May to the end of June.
  • Transplanting too early will result in soft florets.
  • The ideal planting distance is 70 cm x 60 cm.
  • If the Brussels sprouts are planted too closely, there is a risk of rot.
  • The more soil on the root ball, the more successful the transplant.
  • Put the young Brussels sprouts deep enough into the ground.

If the cultivation was particularly successful, there are sometimes more strong seedlings available than there is space available in the bed. These should not be disposed of yet, but should first be further cultivated in the pot as a reserve. Experience has shown that some young plants fall victim to snails. These failures can be compensated for by the ‘reserve bank’ by the end of June.

Those who want to cultivate the soil of their vegetable patches particularly carefully should plant heavy, medium and weak consumers every 3 years. This means that Brussels sprouts are planted in the same place again after 2 years at the earliest.


Since Brussels sprouts on the one hand take a very long time to cultivate and on the other hand they develop very expansively, resourceful hobby gardeners use the temporarily free space between the Brussels sprouts for an intermediate crop. In contrast to mixed cultivation, the aim of intermediate cultivation is solely to make sensible use of the mostly scarce cultivation area in the private vegetable garden. Suitable vegetables as an intermediate crop are:

  • Spinach
  • Salat
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • peas
  • Saddlery
  • Beetroot
  • Strawberries
  • on the edge of tomato beds
  • between widely planted new potatoes
  • alternating with French beans

Intercropping with other cruciferous vegetables should be avoided. Which includes:

  • cauliflower
  • Kohlrabi
  • White cabbage
  • Chinakohl
  • Broccoli
  • Raps
  • horseradish

If you cannot decide on a suitable intermediate crop, simply plant green manure on the free areas between the Brussels sprouts until it fills the space.


Once the young Brussels sprouts have gained a foothold in the bed, the seedlings are kept a little drier in the field for the first two weeks in order to force the growth of the roots. The following care instructions should then be observed:

  • Keep Brussels sprouts permanently moist.
  • Avoid waterlogging.
  • Weed weeds daily, at least every 2 days.
  • Regular chopping promotes root growth.
  • In early summer, pile up the plants for more stability.
  • If there is no wind protection, support tall plants with sticks.
  • Water more frequently in autumn while the florets are forming.
  • Mulching with grass clippings keeps the soil warm and moist.
  • Early ripening varieties dehumidify for increased rose formation.
  • If the florets of the winter varieties are well developed, do not prune the plant.
  • Do not break off the side leaves, as they are used for protection.

From June the plant begins to stretch its stem towards the sky. The typical blue-green, large leaves grow at the same time. However, it will then take until mid-September for the florets to form in the leaf axils. With the early ripening varieties, the harvest can begin when the coveted sprouts are 2 to 5 cm tall. A Brussels sprout plant can be completely plucked several times, always from bottom to top.


As a heavy eater, Brussels sprouts need plenty of nutrients in the form of organic and mineral fertilizers. A well-prepared berry soil with compost, horn meal, manure or green manure does a good job before the start. As the Brussels sprouts grow, they need regular additions of good garden compost or horse manure. Vegetable manure has also proven itself as an organic fertilizer for Brussels sprouts. However, when it comes to the supply of nitrogen, a sure instinct is required. Too high a dosage inevitably leads to soft florets that are barely edible. If the Brussels sprouts receive too little nitrogen, they show this deficiency by yellowish discolored leaves. An immediate supply of complete fertilizer remedies this deficiency. Blue grain in a dosage of 30 g per m² or calcium ammonium nitrate with 20 g per m² is suitable.

Incidentally, the above-mentioned piling up of the plants in midsummer also plays an important role because this not only increases stability, but also the Brussels sprouts more roots to be able to absorb water and nutrients even more efficiently.

Diseases and pests

Careful care of the Brussels sprouts always includes the prevention and control of diseases and pests that afflict the delicious vegetable. First and foremost, the seemingly ubiquitous nudibranch is to be mentioned, which represents a great danger for the young Brussels sprouts. Sowing and cultivation should therefore take place in the protected environment of a greenhouse, a cold box or a frost-free garage. After planting in the bed, the troubled hobby gardener can take the following defense measures:

  • Surround the bed with a snail fence.
  • Set up beer traps within the area.
  • Set up a walking barrier with sharp materials such as grit.
  • Collect the nocturnal pests from under the leaves every morning.
  • Brussels sprouts fertilized with vegetable manure deter snails.
  • Coffee and coffee grounds scattered around the bed are fatal to snails.
  • Apply slug nematodes before sowing and planting.
  • Always maintain the bedding soil fine-grained and avoid cavities.
  • Encourage natural predators, such as ground beetles, birds, frogs, and hedgehogs.
  • Free-range chickens peck the snail eggs from the ground.
  • Set up crack traps with slug pellets.

The most effective natural control method against slugs are the Indian runner ducks. Keeping these cute beneficial insects takes some effort. However, if you give them a home in their garden, you will never have a problem with slugs again.

Carboniferous hernia
Probably the most harmful disease that can affect Brussels sprouts is carbonic hernia, caused by a unicellular parasite. Wherever it occurs, the soil will be unusable for growing cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts for many years. The application of calcium cyanamide has proven to be an effective control measure. Brussels sprouts should only be grown on infested beds in long crop rotations of at least 7 years.


A number of insects can spoil the joy of growing Brussels sprouts:

  • Cabbage heart mosquito
  • Cabbage white butterfly
  • Butterflies and their caterpillars
  • Flower flies

These pests cause damage to Brussels sprouts in their own unique way. Therefore, a vegetable patch with Brussels sprouts should always be covered with a close-meshed insect net. The experienced hobby gardener defends himself against the danger from below by fleas and other beetles by regular chopping, watering and mulching. Incidentally, the plant manure, which is used for biological fertilization, is also effective against underground pests if not only the Brussels sprouts but also the bedding soil are sprayed.

Considerable variety of Brussels sprouts

Although Brussels sprouts are a relatively young vegetable in the local latitudes, a remarkable variety of varieties has developed. If you use the offer wisely, you will noticeably extend the harvest time of your Brussels sprouts. Below are some of the most popular types of Brussels sprouts:

Early ripening varieties


  • high in sugar
  • Harvest from September to October
  • suitable for freezing


  • dark green variety
  • Harvest from September
  • if sown later, also until February

Late ripening varieties


  • blauviolette Sort
  • Harvest from October to December
  • Color is retained when cooking


  • forms small, delicate florets
  • frosthart
  • Harvest from late October to spring

Red Ball

  • reddish florets
  • Harvest from October to December
  • does not give off the typical smell


  • particularly aromatic variety
  • numerous firm florets
  • Harvest from October to December
  • can be frozen and boiled down

Hils Ideal

  • green classic
  • Harvest from October to February
  • can be harvested again and again

Igor F1

  • medium late variety
  • richly bearing
  • firm, smooth, dark green florets
  • Harvest from November to January

Resistant varieties

Brigitte F1

  • resistant to almost all diseases
  • big green florets
  • Harvest from October to December

Victoria F1

  • resistant and hardy
  • medium-sized, green florets
  • Harvest from December to the end of March

Cavalier F 1

  • very hardy variety
  • delivers a rich harvest of green florets
  • Harvest from October to December

Harvest and storage

The main harvest times for Brussels sprouts are November, December and January. The early ripening varieties can be harvested as early as September; then, however, they usually did not receive the slight cold shock that significantly improves the taste. The short-term frost increases the sugar content in Brussels sprouts and slightly reduces the vitamin C content. This natural effect cannot be reproduced in the freezer.

If there is a threat of a longer period of frost, you do not have to do without the continued consumption of Brussels sprouts. In this case, the entire plant is dug up and placed in a sheltered part of the garden, e.g. B. on a house wall or hedge, dug in and covered with straw or brushwood. Wrapping with garden fleece also protects against freezing. This also effectively protects the Brussels sprouts from the sharp winter sun. On frost-free days, it is important to water the plants, because there is also a risk that they will dry up in the cold season.

The Brussels sprouts cannot tolerate a change between frost and thaw at all, because then they become soft and mushy. If there is a threat of a longer period of frost with temperatures below -10 ° Celsius, you should harvest all plants and freeze or boil the florets. The stems should be shredded and composted so that pests do not spread on them.

Growing Brussels sprouts yourself is not a feat. No sound previous horticultural knowledge is required, but plenty of space and a lot of patience. Successful care is limited to regular watering, hoeing, fertilizing and weeding. In the fight against diseases and pests, the hobby gardener receives support from experienced breeders who produce numerous resistant varieties. Harvesting the delicious Brussels sprouts is fun for the whole family. Depending on the variety, the delicate kale can be harvested and consumed throughout the winter. Then even vegetable-resistant children will eat them heartily.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *