As a child I hated Brussels sprouts. With a screwed up face I’d gingerly chew in slow motion, desperately thinking of a way to avoid swallowing the evil things. Of course they were in my mouth far longer than they should have been, so I’d end up gagging, mouth foaming with different shades of sprouty green. There were probably lots of tears too, followed by pitiful wailing in the hope mum would spare me.
Fast forward lots of years and I absolutely adore sprouts now. I grow them, cook them and happily eat them, especially raw straight off the plants. I can almost hear my inner child spewing. I admit I also pushed sprouts on our kids, but I think most parents introduce their children to these ‘yucky’ green balls at some point. Our daughter likes them now as a young adult but our teenage son is probably scarred for life.
I’m picking the first sprouts of the season now, ‘Seven Hills’ is a rare sprout that is almost extinct which makes them even more delicious! I got my seeds from Real Seeds if you’d like to give them a go next year.
A couple of years ago I grew sprouts for the first time, it went OK but I made mistakes. I didn’t pick the buttons quick enough and they all ‘blew’. This was not due to having too many plants to harvest all at once but more a case of being a bit too relaxed about it. Aim to pick sprouts while they are small and firm, start from the bottom and work your way up the plant – you can use a sharp knife or simply snap them off with a downwards motion. Downy mildew proved to be a bit of a problem later on, I thought I had allocated enough space between each plant, obviously not enough. Remove leaves that have started to yellow (usually from the bottom first) to reduce the risk of disease.
I have decided to give sprouts another go this year and have chosen Bosworth F1 with good resistance to downy mildew. Seeing as I am the only one who likes sprouts I don’t have to grow many plants – just enough for me. Yay!
Some of the sprouts are ready for picking now, the rest will be ready in a few weeks time and later sowings should be ready just in time for Christmas dinner. The sprouts are looking very healthy indeed, the same cannot be said for the tops. Cabbage White butterflies were very busy in the summer with our sprouts and cauli leaves, I don’t mind, I’m all for butterfly conservation and probably one of the few vegetable gardeners that welcome their presence. I might grow a few cabbages for them next season, I don’t eat them anyway.
The beautiful summer that we had brought many butterflies to the garden. Which species of butterflies did you spot this year?