Brussels Sprout Growing Guide For Beginners

Brussels Sprout Growing.
Brussels SproutGrowing.

Brussels Sprout Growing Information:

The following Vegetable content details about Brussels Sprout growing.

Introduction to Brussels sprout growing

Brussels sprouts are a cool-season crop possibly cultivated as early as the 13th century in Belgium. It is believed to spread to other cooler parts of Europe during 16th century and later on to spread throughout the globe. Brussels sprouts are green leafy buds resembling as miniature cabbages. Brussels sprouts are of two types that are commonly grown. In regions having long growing season, tall ones growing 60 cm to 120 cm are preferred while in regions having short growing season, short ones growing up to 60 cm are preferred for cultivation. The edible sprouts or small heads are like buds that are produced in the space between leaf base and the stem above it called leaf axils. They mature over several weeks starting from the base of the stem and growing upward along the thick long stalks. Brussels sprouts come from cole family, and they are hardy and well adapted to frost and little freezing. One can get decent profits in Brussels sprout growing under ideal horticulture management practices.

Scientific /Botanical name of Brussels sprout

Brassica oleracea is the scientific name.

Family Name of Brussels sprout

Brussels sprout comes from the family of Brassicaceae, and a member of Gemmifera group of cabbages.

Brussels sprout in Indian languages

  • English – Brussels Sprout.
  • Gujarati – બ્રસેલ્સસ્પ્રાઉટ્સ(Brasēlsasprā’uṭsa).
  • Malayalam – ബ്രെഡലുകൾമുളപ്പിച്ച(breḍalukaḷmuḷappicca).
  • Tamil – பிரவுஸ்முளைகள்(Piravusmuḷaikaḷ).
  • Kannada – ಬ್ರಸಲ್ಸ್ಮೊಗ್ಗುಗಳು(Brasalsmoggugaḷu).
  • Telugu – బ్రస్సెల్స్మొలకలు(Bras’selsmolakalu).
  • Hindi – ब्रसलस्प्राउट(brasalspraut).
  • Bangla – ব্রাসেলসস্প্রাউট(Brāsēlasasprā’uṭa).
  • Marathi – ब्रसेल्सस्प्राउट्स(Brasēlsasprā’uṭsa).
  • Punjabi – ਬ੍ਰਸੇਲਸਪਾਉਟ (Brasēlasapā’uṭa).

Brussels sprout Varieties / Brussels sprout Cultivars

Hills Ideal: This variety of plants grows up to 55 cm to 60 cm. The buds or heads of the vegetable are good in flavor. The vegetable can be harvested in 80 days after transplanting. Grower can expect a yield of 160 quintals per hectare. The most commons places the crop is highly cultivated in India are Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Jade Cross: This is a Japanese F1 high yielding and early maturity variety crop. In this cultivar the stems are dwarf and suitable for single harvest. The sprouts are sweet and mild flavor and the plant is heat tolerant. The size of the sprouts is medium in size and can be harvested in 85 days after transplanting.

Bubbles: This variety plants have good disease resistance and also tolerates slight heat and drought. The sprouts can be harvested in 90 days after transplanting and the sprouts hold well for over a long time giving a long harvest.

Climate and Soil requirement for Brussels sprout growing

Brussels sprouts grow in temperatures 7°C to 24°C, but they grow well and giving high yields in temperatures 15°C to 18°C. As it comes from cole family, they thrive best in cool and humid climate. In high temperature the flavor of sprouts become bitter in taste. They grow just like cabbage and cauliflower but require a long growing period.

Brussels sprouts can be grown on a wide variety of soils. A well-drained farm with humus and organic matter in loam soils are best suited for high yield. Soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is much preferred for high yield and to avoid club root disease. Brussels sprout grows well in soils with high potassium levels;it’s advisable to run a soil test before planting. For early crop cultivars sandy loam soils are recommended.

Land preparation in Brussels sprout growing

Land must be prepared by deep plough in the previous autumn and incorporated with well rotten farm yard manure and compost at a spade depth. Planting is done when the soil moisture is right, the soil must hold together and breaks to small clumps when it falls on the ground. Avoid planting if the soil is too wet. The fields must be fumigated with sodium methyl dithiocarbamate (vapam) before transplanting and to prevent nematodes from damaging the crop.

Seed Treatment for Brussels sprouts growing

Hot water seed treatments give better and quick germination. Specific guidelines must be followed in hot water seed treatment; seeds must be soaked for 25 to 30 minutes with water at 50° C exactly. The wet seeds must be quickly cooled and dried. Serious seed borne diseases can be prevented by using hot water and fungicide treated seeds. For easier handling of seeds at the time of planting, seeds are mixed with powders forming a ball usually called as pelleted seed.

Propagation in Brussels sprout growing

Though it can be propagated by seeds, for commercial farming propagation is carried out by means of seedlings.

Seed rate, season, sowing and spacing in Brussels sprout growing

At the beginning of the annual growing season, Brussel sprouts seeds are planted in polyhouse or greenhouse. For planting an hectare of land, 350 to 450 grams are sufficient to raise seedlings at the nursery bed typically from January to May. By 50 to 60 days the seedlings will be ready for transplanting.

Before transplanting the seedlings to the main farm land, the fields must be fumigated with metam-sodium or dichloropropene. Fumigation will suppress the growth of club root disease and to control nematodes. To control club root disease the fields are treated with lime to raise soil pH value.

Prepare the bed size by raising the beds. The width of the bed can be up to 75 cm and the length can be according to the size of the land or to the convenience. Since Brussels sprouts grow large, seedlings must be planted with a spacing of about 35 to 45 cm in a single row and row spacing about 70 to 90 cm depending on the variety.

Irrigation in Brussels sprout growing

For successful production water availability is necessary as Brussels sprout is a long season crop. Depending on the soil and weather conditions irrigation must be provided. Water must be done immediately after transplanting. The plants require 25 to 35 mm of regular water supply per week during the growing season. Hand watering or flood irrigation can be taken while drip irrigation is much preferred but overhead irrigation must be avoided.

Manures and Fertilizers in Brussels sprout growing

Brussels sprouts are heavy feeders. Fertilizer requirement depends accurately by undertaking a soil test. An adequate level of all nutrients will produce top quality and harvest yields in keeping with maximum profits. Soils that are high in organic matter will hold a lot of moisture to keep the plants growing vigorously.

Lime must be applied accordingly to maintain the soil pH (7.2)in order to control club root. Well rotten farm yard manure of about 25 tonnes per hectare is required. 120-60-60 of Nitrogen, Phosphorus pentoxide, Potassium oxide must be applied respectively. Before planting apply full dose of P and K and half N to the fields. The remaining half of Nitrogen can be applied as two split doses. The first dose as side dress must be taken after seven to 10 days after plantation and the second dressing can be done after four to six weeks at the time of head initiation. Micronutrients such as molybdenum and boron may be applied by soil application or foliar sprays.

Inter-crops in Brussels sprout growing

Grower can interplant the Brussels sprout field with fast growing crops such as lettuce and cilantro for more profits.

Intercultural operations in Brussels sprout growing

Effective weed management is a critical step for successful Brussels sprout production. Weeds compete for light, nutrients, water thereby interfere in yield. Weeds can be controlled by mechanical control methods such as mowing, discing, plowing or hand pulling of weeds. Break the surface crust for better aeration and water absorption by two to three hand hoeing.

Pests and Diseases in Brussels sprout growing

To avoid disease and pest problems, the crop should not be planted in thesame area where a crop within the same family with Brussels sprouts wasplanted before.Care must be taken against Brussels sprout pests and diseases as they will rob the vegetable profits.

Insects in Brussels sprout growing:

  • Cabbage worms and Cabbage loopers are the larvae of moths and butterflies. These pests cause serious damage as they feed on leaves. They camouflage well taking on the color of the host plant and are difficult to see. The only way to control them is both by hand picking and destroying them or with insecticides that contains Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt) or spinosad commercially available as Dipel or Thuricide.
  • Aphids are tiny insects found beneath the leaves. The leaves turn discolored and wrinkled as these soft-bodied insects feed and suck sap from the leaves. Infected plants are controlled by a strong spray of water and for serious infestations; insecticidal soap, Diazinon or neem oil must be used. Place a layer of aluminum foil under the plants; it makes an undesirable habitat for aphids as the light gets reflected underside of leaves.
  • Flea beetles are tiny black insects. They damage the foliage by leaving numerous tiny holes and continuous feeding will reduce the yield and will kill seedlings. To control use an insecticide labeled for flea beetles.
  • Cutworms eat young seedlings at ground level and sometimes bore into the heads of mature plants. These caterpillars position themselves at the moisture line in the soil. When the soil is dry they will go inside the soil and when the soil is watered they come on the surface. To control, place a cardboard collar two to five centimeter above and below soil level around the seedlings. Spray with Chlorpyrifos to control cutworms.

Diseases in Brussels sprout growing:

  • Clubroo is caused by a fungus in the soil. The plants are wilted and leaves get discolored. The fungus affect the roots not allowing what roots normally do. There is no effective organic or chemical treatment for clubroot fungus. Clubroot prefers acidic soils; add lime to soils that are acidic at least 2 months before planting. The best way to control the disease is to fumigate with methyl bromide the fields before planting.
  • Mildew is one of the most irritating Brussels sprouts diseases and will be high in damp weather conditions. Powdery patches and greyish spots are found on the leaves and new shoots. Mildew invades the insides of the plants and attacks lethally.
  • Black rot is a serious bacterial disease found in broccoli farm. Plants can be infected at any stage of development. When infected the bacteria move downward into the stem and roots through the xylem. Disease resistant cultivars and disease free seeds are recommended.

Harvesting in Brussels sprout growing

Harvesting can take place 85 to 175 days after transplanting. The sprouts grow on the side of plants  long thick stalks up to 60 to 120 cm. Sprouts may be collected in baskets while picking up by handor by cutting the entire stalk at once. Lower sprouts mature first and should be harvested when they are round, firm and attain 3 to 5 cm in diameter, if left on the plant they break down. Each stalk can produce 1.0 to 1.5 kg, although the commercial yield is about 850 to 1000grams per stalk.

Yield in Brussels sprout growing

Yield of Brussels Sprouts.
Yield of Brussels Sprouts.

Yield depends on plant cultivar and farm management practice. On an average each plant yields 70 to 100 sprouts. A good yield can be 30 to 35 quintals per hectare in a single harvest.

Marketing in Brussels sprout growing

Brussels sprouts can be marketed after reaching suitable market size and color. Sprouts can be marketed in local markets or exported by marketing agency. Brussels sprouts is transported in a cool and with good ventilation vehicles to the market. Brussels sprouts can be stored in good condition for at least 30 days at Zero degrees with 90 to 95% relative humidity.

Storage and Packaging in Brussels sprout growing

After harvesting, it is best to cool the produce gathered from the field heat. Vacuum cooling is more effective for storage and it reduces wilting. The sprouts are film packed in cartons or in flats. By using refrigerated vehicles keeps the produce fresh while transporting to long distance market. Top-icing is useful when transport conditions cannot maintain temperature and humidity.

Economic considerations in Brussels sprout growing

Brussels sprouts are labor intensive. For Brussel sprouts farming the initial investments include land preparation, purchase of seeds or seedlings, installation of drip irrigation, cooling, packaging and transporting are some of the expenditures. Returns will vary greatly depending on the yield and good farming techniques.

Tips for Brussels sprout growing

  1. Brussels sprouts are heavy feeders, fertile soil with rich organic materials is recommended.
  2. By removing the tip of the growing point will boost the sprout size but will reduce the quantity.
  3. By removing the bottom leaves when the sprout begins to swell, this will help channel energy for sprout development.
  4. Provide an inch of water per week at least.
  5. Avoid planting Brussels sprouts in fields where preceding cole family was cultivated.
  6. Frosting improves flavor and sweetness of the sprouts.
  7. Sprouts can be taken raw or cooked and stored up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

For  Capsicum Growing: Read here.

For Goat Farming: Read here.


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