Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts deserve a space on your Christmas plate. Along with other brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, they’re high in nutritional content. They are excellent sources of vitamins C, A, E, K, and folate, calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.
Brussels sprout seeds can be sown indoors during February or March in modular seed trays. Alternatively, you can sow directly into the ground during March or April. For seeds germinated indoors, when the seedlings reach 10cm tall they can be hardened off ready for planting outdoors. When planting, leave approximately 70cm between each plant, so they have sufficient space to grow. Plant them quite deep into the soil, right up to the first set of leaves, and firm them in and water well.
Regularly draw up little earth around the base of the sprouts as they grow. This will prevent them from rocking too much in the wind which can damage the roots. During dry periods, water regularly and feed with a liquid fertiliser once every four weeks.
From November the sprouts will be ripe for the picking. Harvest gradually from the bottom upwards when they are close to table-tennis ball size. If they are yellowing, or have opened up, then they are past their best, so dispose of any that have in the compost bin.