BRUSSELS SPROUTS

This vegetable must be ‘done well’ and needs a long period of growth. Sow thinly in March and for succession in April and May. Transplant when strong enough in rows 3 ft. apart by 2 ft. and into soil which has been deeply dug and liberally manured at least a month earlier.

Early sowings can be made in a cold frame. Transplant 6 inches apart, watering the plot the day before, and in May plant in their permanent quarters 2 ½ ft. apart, treading in each plant very firmly. Hoe up the soil round the stems about a month later.

Large sprouts are not necessarily the most tasty. Small sprouts about I in. in diameter take a good deal of beating for tenderness and tastiness. Seedlings of Brussels sprouts are sensitive to careless handling, brief exposure of the roots to sun and wind often causing permanent injury. Do not cut off the head of the plant until the sprouts are stripped, a process which should start at the bottom, taking a few at a time, so as to leave the upper ones to fill out until required. In stripping, cut or snap the sprouts rather than pull them off, thereby avoiding damage to the stalk.

Recommended Varieties:

The Darlington is of dwarf, sturdy habit, producing early, medium-sized sprouts. Does fairly well on thin soils and can be planted rather closer than most kinds; accordingly an excellent variety for small gardens. Sutton’s Dwarf Gem with small, solid sprouts can also be planted closely.

Among the taller varieties, The Aristocrat bears medium-sized sprouts which keep firm for rather longer than other varieties. Cambridge No. 5 has a very lengthy picking period. It is really a late variety, but the sprouts can be picked fairly early when only medium-sized — if left until later they will increase in size but retain their firmness. Cambridge No. I is rather similar but earlier.

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