Saturday 29 June 2013

Brussels Sprouts and Shallots

My "Brilliant" Brussels Sprout plants passed a significant milestone this week - I judged them big enough to require staking. Up till now they had been unsupported, but their foliage is getting to be quite luxuriant and in danger of making the plants top-heavy. In the seemingly incessantly windy conditions we are experiencing they could easily snap if not supported.

So I have now provided each of my four plants with a sturdy hardwood stake, and I have tied the plants to the stakes with a couple of turns of soft string:

As the plants grow taller I will add another couple of strings.

The addition of the stakes caused me to reconsider the use of the net which had previously been covering the Brussels Sprouts and the Tenderstem Broccoli. I decided to leave it off, since there have been very few butterflies around this year, so no caterpillars so far. The leaves on the brassicas are still perfect - no nibbles at all which is great, but unusual! Looking at my photo now reminds me that since the net has gone now  I really out to remove the Build-a-Ball rods as well...

In the foreground of that photo above you can see the "Longor" Shallots, whose foliage has flopped over now, a sign that they are approaching maturity. Inspecting them closely I see that they are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them are nicely sized, but others are tiny. I think the cold, dry conditions may not have suited them well.

The spare ones I planted in a couple of pots looks pretty much the same - not significantly smaller, considering they were the ones left over after I had chosen the best ones for my main crop.

I'm not going to harvest them just yet. I'll wait until the foliage is mostly brown before I do. And maybe the will grow a bit more too.


  1. I've given up on sprouts, I just can't grow them, but can't do without them for Christmas dinner either, so I have to buy them.

  2. I've yet to grow brussels sprouts. I keep trying. This year the seedlings were all eaten down.

  3. Our sprouts have a way to go before they are the size of yours but we have seen white butterflies inspecting our nets and looking for a way in!

  4. I'm giving brussels sprouts a try again this year. I've failed twice in the past, due mainly to aphids ruining the plants. This year I'm going for a fall crop and I'm going to cover the plants with row fabric to keep the bugs out (I hope)!!

  5. Your Brussel Sprout plants are huge compared with mine. Mine are just setting sprouts which I'm enjoying watching but the actual plants are pathetically small compared with yours.

  6. I've missed the boat again with brussels. I loved the look of the brussels that I grew a couple of years ago (a purple variety) but they did take up quite a bit of space! I know they like to be firmly planted - I wonder if they would grow in deep containers? Have you tried, Mark?

  7. Caro, I have not tried growing Brussels sprouts in containers (though I have tried PSB). I reckon they would be OK, but probably they would stay quite small - smaller than if grown in open ground, which might suit your circumstances well!

  8. Funny, I've taken the netting off the sprouts now as well, the last rabbit was captured a with a sprout leaf as bait. If some of those shallots are too small to cook with pickling them and jarring them up is always an option.

    1. David, almost all of my shallots were pickled last year. Just kept a few of the biggest ones for general-purpose use in the kitchen.

  9. Hi Mark, I haven't tried brussel's sprouts before, nor shallots. I'd like to try shallots. Shallots are so tasty! It's interesting to see their growth pattern. I'm glad I saw your pics, so I know what to look forward too :)Cheers


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