Pruning our Brussel sprouts

by Mars

We’ve enjoyed growing Brussel sprouts as first time gardeners because they’re very hardy, and so far they have only been prone to slugs and caterpillars. This week, we took the secateurs down to the veg garden and gave them a much needed trim.

Not only will they now be able to channel more energy and nutrients into the development of the edible sprouts, they’ve also allowed a lot more sunlight to get through to the vegetables that have been trying to grow behind them. I never realized, based on the description of seed packets, that these plants would become so big and imposing. We will give them more space next year and position them at the northern end of beds.

We’re now in a holding pattern waiting for the lowest buds to reach harvesting size so that we can pick and eat them. I can’t wait because I really like Brussel sprouts. They’re very versatile as side veg, and a great addition to stir fries where they add flavour and crunch.

To my understanding, in order to encourage maximum bud size, we’ll need to chop off the uppermost portion of leaves while the buds are still small in order to transfer the plant’s energy towards bud formation. Never having done this before, we’re still unsure when the right time to do this is.

What’s super interesting about Brussel sprouts is that no only do they survive autumn frost and light snow, they thrive in this weather and the cold treatment makes them taste better. We are really excited about enjoying them over the winter and on Christmas Day.

In closing, I thought I’d also share some pages from this old gardening book that we purchased at an antique shop many years ago, The Big Book of Gardening by Charles Boff, that discusses brassicas. We have a soft spot for old books.

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