When you look at the tops of the plants they don't look too bad. In my photos the leaves are glossy and glistening because I had just sprayed them with very dilute washing-up liquid, to reduce the Whitefly infestation. I don't think you can see any Whitefly in this photo:
But look down below and you'll see the results of their presence - many of the leaves (particularly the stems) are covered in black sooty mould, which grows on the euphemistically-named "Honeydew" excreted by these pests. Not a pretty sight.
But more to the point, the sprouts themselves are tiny! They are currently about the size of a pea.
This year, the Brussels Sprout plants have grown ever so slowly, and I'm not really sure why. I have done all the usual things I do with brassicas - fed them, watered them, protected them from Cabbage Root Fly and butterflies - but still they have proved reluctant to develop. All I can think of is that maybe the weather conditions didn't suit them. There is one other possibility: all 3 of my plants were grown from seeds left over from the previous year. Could it be that they had lost some of their vigour?
The reason why I think that maybe the weather is the reason why the Sprouts have been slow to develop is that the Leeks have done the same. I put 5 Leeks along each side of the bed where my PSB is growing, but they have done just about nothing. Just sat there sulking!
|This one is (ironically) a "Winter Giant"!|
The best Leeks are in one of my containers, though even these are hardly prize-winning specimens:
At least a couple of them appear vaguely Leek-shaped!
So, small Sprouts, small Leeks; what do you think the PSB will be like? Hopefully a lot better!
The PSB in the photo above is a "Red Spear", which is looking pretty good so far, and has lots of shoots appearing now. Next to the chilli, Purple Sprouting Broccoli is the vegetable I see as being most representative of me and my veg-plot, so there is always a bit of added pressure to get some good stuff to show off. I'll be nurturing these plants, that's for sure!
The sprouts and leeks in the same bed?ReplyDelete
No, they are not. The Leeks are in with the PSB, which is looking strong.Delete
I think the weather can have a huge impact on the growth rate of the sprouts. We've had very warm weather lately, much warmer than "normal", and the sprouts on my plants are growing like crazy. Last year I was looking at them and hoping for sprouts by Christmas and harvested the first ones on January 7! I did start my plants a month earlier this year, but I've already harvested the first sprouts 2 months earlier than last year. Your little ones are nicely shaped though, a lot of mine are very wonky.ReplyDelete
Did you check the acidity of your soil? I have heard that Brassica family is very particular about that.ReplyDelete
No, but I grew some fantastic Cabbages in the same bed, so I think it must be OK.Delete
I'll have to check how our sprouts are doing as I have not looked beyond the tops. Our sprouts are covered with environment to try to keep the whitefly off so it's not altogether obvious how the sprouts are forming.ReplyDelete
Ditto what Michelle said...and didn't you experience an ongoing lack of sunshine early on in the summer? Our super hot weather had a definite negative impact on many of cool weather veg this year, specifically the kohlrabi and turnips. They grew, but were nowhere near as sweet and succulent as they had been the year before.ReplyDelete
Theorising is our attempt to learn to avoid the pitfalls - but there are so many possibilities it is infuriating. e.g. You mention growing cabbages in the same bed. Have the cabbages depleted the soil of the nutrients brassicas crave? They may have left some residual pests behind too. The plants look very healthy overall despite the predations of the white fly. At least the sprouts aren't shot. They may come good yet. Are they a late variety? Also are they F1 hybrid? If so the loss of vigour due to genetic degradation is unlikely to be a factor. I'm off to check mine too!ReplyDelete