Monday 30 May 2011

Flower Sprouts

Thanks to all those who commented on the "Salads ingredients" post from yesterday. Looks like there are many others out there with a similar interest...

Today's subject though is a Winter veg. Flower Sprouts. You remember Flower Sprouts? They are a new type of vegetable created by crossing Kale with Brussels Sprouts, and they mature in Late Autumn / Winter.

I transplanted my Flower Sprout seedlings into individual pots on 7th May. At that time they mostly had just two true leaves in addition to the cotyledons or "seed-leaves". This is a task that needs to be done carefully, to avoid damaging the roots. Also, make sure that the compost into which you are transplanting is thoroughly moist, in order to reduce stress to the young plants.

After transplanting, put the plants in a cool shady place for a while, to allow them to recover. (It's like a human spending some time in the Recovery Room after a surgical operation!). They may initially go droopy, but should pick up after a few hours, after which they can go out in the light again.

In the last three weeks my plants have grown a lot.

Some of the leaves are looking a bit pale and yellow. Perhaps this is a sign of insufficient nutrients. If so, they are probably ready to go into bigger pots, with some fresh compost.

The challenge for me is to keep the plants in good condition until such time as I have space to plant then out in their final growing positions - which will be the place where the Broad Beans are now. If at any stage their growth is checked by perhaps being under-watered or having insufficient space to expand, they are likely to be less successful, and may even bolt. "Why not sow them later?" you may ask - well, the answer is "because the plants wouldn't be big enough to mature before the Winter." This next photo shows the difference that just one pot size can make: the two plants were transplanted on the same day, into the same type of compost, but one is in a slightly larger pot than the other. The one in the big pot looks not only bigger, but healthier too.

Of the ten plants I kept, I think one is an impostor (plant at left in the photo below). It is different to all the others. The leaves are a different shape, and the stem is a different colour. Is this maybe the result of a stray ordinary Brussels Sprout seed having accidentally crept into the Flower Sprouts seed-packet, or is it a unique new hybrid?

These plants will presumably be quite big when they are full-grown and I will only have space to grow perhaps four or six of the ten plants. Do you think I should make the "impostor" one of those or not?


P.S. I recently discovered (via a new blogger called Anita Kumar, who lives in Chennai, India. She has posted a great article about making compost by the Kambha technique. I just felt that this is something that everyone ought to know about!  Visit Anita's blog Red Ripe Tomatoes to find out more.


  1. Wow, flower sprouts look interesting. I saw something similar in Marks and Spencers last year.

    It is sad that summer isn't here yet (or has it been) and us gardeners and ver growers are already thinking about winter. We have cabbage on the go at the moment but space is so restricted that we really need to give some more time over to planning.

    Martin :0)

  2. Very interesting. They look very kale-like(Red Russian). I will be interested to see how they turn out.

  3. Am growing flower sprouts too this year. Amazing quite how much they've grown in the past couple of weeks isn't it? I have the space to plant them out now, but I need to sort out my netting first. Will compare how you get on.

  4. I haven't heard of this veggie before,has it been available for long? I will be interested to see the plant fully grown,do you harvest the leaves like kale? Good Luck.

  5. Hi Marc; Well, I wasn't very impressed with Flower Sprouts, so I haven't grown them again. I know that growing them just once is not really a fair trial, but there are so many other things I want to grow, that it didn't seem worth having another go. More info is here:


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