Friday 26 October 2012

Brassica update

My Winter crops are looking good! 

These Brussels Sprouts look impressive, don't they? The trouble is, they are still only about the size of a grape. It's wonderful what you can do with a close-up photo...

Looking at ths next photo, you'd think it was still August. The Raspberry canes in the background are still full of leaf. But it was the Brussels Sprouts I wanted to show off. My three plants are doing well so far, though I noticed today that there are lots of Whitefly on them. Not sure what to do about that. I'm considering my strategy. To spray or not to spray, that is the question...

At the foot of the left-hand Brussels Sprout plant you can see one of my 3 remaining Red Cabbages. A bit disappointing in the size department I think.

The Brussels Sprout plants have made plenty of foliage, which is good, not only because the leaves are the powerhouse of the plant, capturing solar energy for it, but also because the sprouts themselves form in the leaf axils, so the more axils the better, as far as I'm concerned.

As well as the sprouts themselves, the tops of the plants are also nice to eat, just like a rather loose cabbage:

Don't be tempted to cut the "Brussels Tops" until the sprouts are all finished though - the plant needs it.

This is one of the little Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants. As you know, I only kept the ones like this as reserves, so I'm not raising my expectations too high. I wonder if it will ever get big enough to provide useable flowering shoots? Even if it doesn't, it looks nice anyway, decorated with pearly raindrops!

The other type of broccoli - the "Matsuri" miniature one - is just about ready for harvesting. Another week, maybe. I only have two of these, so that will be a whole head of broccoli each for me and Jane one day soon.

Elsewhere in the garden, I have set up two of my cloches to protect some "Webbs Wonderful" lettuces.

These have been transplanted from various corners of the plot and have moved into the space vacated by the recently-harvested beetroot.  I had to wash the cloches because they were green with mould, having stood under the trees at the bottom of the garden for the last few months. This sort of thing is important, because plants under cloches often struggle to get enough light anyway, and dirty glass / plastic certainly won't help.

Behind the cloches in this photo are my parsnips. I haven't lifted any of them yet, but it probably won't be long now before I do. Frost is supposed to make them sweeter, so tradition dictates that you should wait until after the first hard frost before harvesting. Looking at our weather forecast, I don't think that I have long to wait.


  1. It is amazing that in all this wet weather that the whitefly are still around. If we spray with anything it is usually soft soap (Savona). We'll be taking off our brassica nets soon and it will be then that we find out whether we too have a whitefly problem.

  2. love your blog and great tips on not using brussels sprouts top, I am watching my broccoli grow

  3. the brussels are so impressive... can't wait for Christmas!

  4. We prefer Brussels tops to the sprouts themselves good tip about not removing them too early.

  5. I absolutely love brussels sprouts - one of my most favourite vegetables. You can't beat them!

  6. Your brassicas look fabulous. I wish my Brussels sprouts were that big. They are about the size of a large pea right now. I think they won't have time to do anything, but I'll leave them in and find out.

  7. Looking good Mark. What's the ferny looking plant behind the cloches? Is it asparagus?

    1. Yes, indeed, that is my asparagus. The fern is just about ready for cutting down now. How is your doing?

  8. The sprouts are looking great, and there's plenty of time yet for them to fatten up before you harvest them for Christmas dinner.

  9. Interesting, some sources indicate to remove the brussels tops to "fatten up" the sprouts. As with most things veggie there is always conflicting information.


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