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Veggie Bites- Brussels Sprouts

This year I will be growing Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea). The seeds can be direct sown in early May, but the plants have a very long season, so I thought I would try starting them early.

Greetings fellow gardeners,

Well, it is cold, so cold that the little birds on my feeders are all fluffy and the squirrels look miserable. I am making sure that I have lots of fat available on cold days for the birds when they need extra energy. I have a couple of suet feeders and sometimes I will cover pinecones in peanut butter and roll them in birdseed.

My little peppers are growing well, slowly but surely. I had poor germination overall, but the two that took are strong and healthy.  I am hoping that a few more sprouts will appear. The swiss chard microgreens are very lush. I had them with my eggs again this morning. I am really enjoying their intense flavour.  Now that we have ventured into the month of March, I am trying to decide what seeds I need to start next.  Space continues to be at a premium, so I am very careful while making my decisions. 

This year I will be growing Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea). The seeds can be direct sown in early May, but the plants have a very long season, so I thought I would try starting them early. I can start them now and put them out to harden off at the beginning of May. The seedlings can go into their final pots in mid-May. I will be growing my brussels sprouts in pots as I have a limited amount of good vegetable garden space.  Each seedling will need its own pot, with each pot being at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep. 

Brussels Sprout. Photo Care of Britannica.com

Brussels sprouts need to be grown in full sun and in rich soil. I will treat them as I treat my potted tomatoes: with daily watering, and weekly feeding with a fish emulsion fertilizer. You will need to keep an eye open for the same pests that bother your cabbage plants, in particular the cabbage moth. Floating row covers are one of the best ways to prevent worm and moth damage. Mulching around the brussels sprouts is also beneficial. All I ever remembered of brussels sprouts is that I didn’t like them. They were gross little boiled green balls that I had to eat if I wanted to eat dessert. Lately I was coerced into trying roasted brussels sprouts, and wow! I am now looking forward to growing my own. 

I am also considering starting a few spinach seedlings. They can be set them out early in the spring and intersperse them with seeds that I direct sow. I like to grow a heritage spinach that climbs called Red Malabar(Basella rubra).  It is a very pretty plant. I pull off leaves as I need them for my salads.

In addition to brussels sprouts and spinach, I plan to plant a few marigold and calendula seeds. Usually, I direct sow these flowers, but having a few started will extend the flower season. I want to be sure I have some pollinator options as I put out my early plants.

Calendula

I am hoping that the cold doesn’t last for a long time. The too-many cats are not pleased with this type of weather and have been milling about waiting for me to start the woodstove. Have a wonderful week and keep warm. Judith.