Brussels sprouts - a popular worldwide variety of cabbage. It was bred by the Belgian gardeners in a selective way for a long time, at the end of the XVII century. It was in honor of the creators of the culture and was named. Her "parent" in nature grows in the Mediterranean, that is, in a subtropical climate. Brussels sprouts inherited heat lovingness from it; therefore, it is not particularly popular in Eastern Europe and Russia. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to get a crop even in a temperate climate if you first familiarize yourself with the recommendations for caring for the crop.
General information about Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts look very unusual. Thick straight stems about 0.5-1 m high are densely covered with small, no more than 3-4 cm in diameter heads, similar to miniature cabbage. They are comparable in size to walnuts. On one plant, they can be from 30-50 to 100-120 pieces. These heads are formed in the axils of narrow leaves with long petioles. In most varieties, they are painted green with a sizol-violet tint, the surface is "bubbly." At the top of the stem, the leaves form a small rosette, which persists even during fruiting. Heads of cabbage, depending on the variety, can be either very dense or quite loose.
Of all the varieties of cabbage, Brussels has the longest vegetative period. It takes at least four months to form headheads, and on average 150-180 days. During all this time should be quite warm - 20-24ºС. That is why in the European part of Russia and in other regions with a temperate climate, culture is not widespread among amateur gardeners. Harvest just does not have time to ripen in the conditions of a short and far from always warm summer.
In the Urals and Siberia, culture is grown exclusively in seedlings, transferring to the beds no earlier than mid-May. Seeds are planted at least two months before. In the Moscow Region and the European part of Russia, it is advisable to choose early or mid-early varieties and hybrids for planting. Then even if you plant seeds in the ground in the first half of May, the crop can be harvested somewhere in mid-October. And in the southern regions it is warm enough already in April.
At the same time, the thermophilic Mediterranean culture is quite frost-resistant. This can not be said about seedlings just planted in the ground, but adult plants are able to withstand a short-term drop in temperature to -8 ° C.
The root system of Brussels sprouts is quite powerful. Therefore, it is less than other varieties suffering from heat and scarce watering.
Brussels sprouts among the “relatives” - champion in the content of vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in amino acids (practically not inferior in terms of this indicator to meat and dairy products) and proteins (there are only a little less than in legumes). It is almost indispensable for those who adhere to vegetarian principles of nutrition.
Heads of cabbage are extremely healthy. The high content of iodine, potassium, phosphorus, iron causes the benefits of Brussels sprouts to increase immunity and restore it after a serious illness or surgery. Also, its regular use is an effective prevention of diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and thyroid gland. A characteristic bitter taste of heads of cabbage is acquired due to the presence of glucosinolates. It is scientifically proven that they inhibit the development of malignant tumors.
The benefits of Brussels sprouts are fully preserved during freezing. Gustatory qualities do not suffer either. Another way to keep the crop for a long time is drying.
There are contraindications. Brussels sprouts are not recommended to be included in the diet for those suffering from joint diseases, in the presence of kidney stones or gall bladder, as well as with exacerbation of chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Like any kind of cabbage, it is a plant with a two-year development cycle. If you leave it in the garden for the next year, large pod-like fruits with many black seeds inside will form in the place of heads of cabbage next year. They can well be collected and used for planting in the future. They retain germination for a long time, for five years.
Video: Brussels sprouts health benefits
Growing seedlings and planting them in the ground
Gardeners cultivating Brussels sprouts on the territory of Russia, in the vast majority of cases, grow them in seedlings, so as not to risk a future crop. Seeds are sown in the first half of March.
Be sure to preplant seed preparation. First of all, they are placed for half an hour in a thermos filled with hot (45-50ºС) water, then literally for a minute or two they are filled with cold water. At the same time, rejection is also carried out. Floating seeds can immediately be thrown away. They definitely will not germinate.
Then the seeds are soaked for half a day in a solution of any biostimulant. Both a drug purchased in a store (Epin, Zircon, potassium humate) and folk remedies (aloe juice, succinic acid, honey diluted with water) are suitable. After that, they are washed and kept in the refrigerator for a day, in a special box for storing vegetables and fruits.
The final stage is etching for 15-20 minutes in a solution of any biofungicide (Ridomil-Gold, Bayleton, Topaz). You can replace it with a raspberry potassium permanganate solution. This is necessary for the prevention of fungal diseases, to which any variety of cabbage is very susceptible. After this, the seeds are washed again, dried to a state of flowability and can be planted.
Brussels sprouts seedlings are grown according to the following algorithm:
- From any transplant and picking, the culture departs long enough and hard, so the seeds are sown immediately in peat pots of small diameter. The containers are filled with a mixture of fertile sod land or humus, peat crumbs and coarse sand, taking all the ingredients approximately equally. 3-5 g of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers and a tablespoon of sifted wood ash or crushed chalk are added per liter of the finished mixture. The soil must be sterilized. About half an hour before planting, the substrate is well shed with water.
- 2-3 seeds are sown in each container, deepening them by a maximum of 1-1.5 cm. Then glass is placed on top or a film is pulled to create a "greenhouse effect" and the pots are transferred to a dark place where they need to be kept at a temperature of 18-20ºС before germination. Usually this happens quite quickly, after 4-5 days.
- For proper development, seedlings need daylight hours of at least 12 hours (preferably even 14-16 hours) and a relatively low temperature. At night, it should be 8-10ºС, during the day - 14-16ºС. It is rather difficult to create such conditions in an apartment without prejudice to its inhabitants, therefore it is advisable to take seedlings to a glazed loggia at night, and to keep them on a windowsill during the day, often ventilating the room. Necessarily need a backlight. For this, special fitolamps, LED lamps and even ordinary fluorescent lamps are suitable. They are placed 25-30 cm above the pots at a slight angle.
- The substrate is constantly maintained in a moderately wet state. It is very important not to go too far with watering in order to avoid the development of the "black leg". The first time Brussels sprouts are watered two weeks after planting the seeds, then every 2-3 days. When the seedlings form 2-3 real leaves, they are fed. A nutrient solution is prepared by diluting in a liter of water 4-5 g of simple superphosphate, 2-3 g of urea and 1-2 g of potassium sulfate. You can use complex fertilizers for seedlings of cabbage (Rostock, Agricola, Orton, WMD). The procedure is repeated after another 12-15 days. Each time, about half an hour after feeding, seedlings need to be watered.
- Hardening seedlings of Brussels sprouts begin about two weeks before planting. The duration of the stay in the open air is gradually extended from 2-3 hours to 12-14 hours. In the last 2-3 days, tanks are generally left to "spend the night" on the street.
Video: sowing seedlings of Brussels sprouts for seedlings
Two-month seedlings are planted in the ground. By this time, seedlings should already have 5-6 true leaves. Their average height is 18-20 cm, the thickness of the stem is about 5 mm. Depending on the climate and weather in the region, a specific landing period is from mid-May to the end of the first decade of June. A week before, the seedlings stop watering, the substrate in pots is well moistened only about an hour before the procedure.
For transplanting seedlings choose a cloudy non-hot day. Or you need to wait for the evening when the sun sets. Between plants maintain an interval of 55-60 cm, the same gap is left between rows of plantings.
The depth of the hole for planting Brussels sprouts is 12-15 cm. A little humus, a tablespoon of wood ash is poured on the bottom. To repel pests - onion peel. Wells shed well with warm water. Brussels sprouts are planted "in the mud." Seedlings are buried in the ground to the lowest leaves. The soil at the stem is well compacted so that the seedling does not "turn" out of the ground as it grows. Then the plants are watered again abundantly, spending about a liter of water for each, and mulch the soil when moisture is absorbed. For the first 7-10 days, arcs are installed over the seedlings of Brussels sprouts and any white covering material is pulled on them, protecting it from direct sunlight, until the plants take root in a new place.
The area of Brussels sprouts is quite large, and ripens slowly. To save space on the site, spicy herbs are planted in the aisles. Another option is marigold, calendula, lavender, and chamomile. They scare away many pests from the culture.
Planting and preparing seeds for brussels sprouts
Directly in the garden seeds of Brussels sprouts with the expectation of obtaining a crop in Russia can only be sown in the Black Sea region. Sometimes early varieties can be grown in the suburbs, but only if the spring and summer are very lucky with the weather. And gardeners try not to risk a future crop.
The culture reacts negatively even to slight shading, heads of cabbage either do not form at all, or are very loose. Therefore, under the bed with Brussels sprouts, an open area is allocated, well-lit and warmed by the sun.
This culture prefers a fertile, but rather loose substrate with a neutral acid-base reaction. Ideal for it is loam. As practice shows, such soil in the spring frees up faster from snow and warms up to the desired temperature.
Brussels sprouts are less demanding on soil quality than white cabbage, but in a “heavy” substrate it will not grow and develop due to insufficient root aeration, and fairly tall and massive plants will simply turn out from light sandy soil, despite a well-developed root system.
Good predecessors for Brussels sprouts are legume plants, any root vegetables (except beets), onions and garlic, and herbs. Siderates are also suitable, loosening the soil and saturating it with nitrogen. But after other representatives of the family Cruciferous (cabbage, radish, radish, daikon) and Paslyonovy (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) it can be planted no earlier than after 4-5 years.
A bed of Brussels sprouts has been prepared since the fall. They dig it to a depth of one bayonet shovel, while simultaneously introducing 8-10 liters of humus per 1 m². Of the fertilizers, only potash and phosphorus are needed (15–20 g / m² and 30–40 g / m², respectively). Instead of mineral top dressing (superphosphate, potassium sulfate), you can use wood ash (0.5 l / m²). Excessive acidity is neutralized with dolomite flour or crushed eggshell powder. They saturate the soil with calcium, the need for which for Brussels sprouts is very high.
In the spring, about 7-10 days before planting seeds, the soil on the bed should be well loosened and shed with a bright raspberry-colored potassium permanganate solution or any fungicide for disinfection. After that, it is tightened with a black film, which is removed only before landing. It is strictly forbidden to make fresh manure in spring. This greatly inhibits the process of heading out.
Seeds are sown in the ground in the second decade of April. The temperature at night by this time should not fall below 5ºС. Daily indicator - at least 18ºС. For them, exactly the same preplant preparation is carried out as described above. They are sown soil, deepening a maximum of 1-2 cm, with the same interval as the seedlings. In each hole put 2-3 pieces. Sprinkle the seeds from above with peat crumb or humus, until the seedlings appear, the bed is covered with a film. It usually takes 7-10 days.
Caring for seedlings in open ground differs little from what seedlings of Brussels sprouts are required. But there are some differences. The soil on the bed should be weeded regularly. To protect from direct sunlight, the cabbage is kept for about a month and a half under a canopy or covered with fir branches, old buckets. Water it more moderately, every 5-7 days. Two weeks after emergence, the bed is sprinkled with tobacco dust or ground red pepper to protect them from the cruciferous flea. Or you can treat the plants and the soil with any drug recommended to combat it.
In the phase of the second or third true leaf, seedlings are thinned out, leaving only one plant, the most powerful and developed, in each hole. Unnecessary cut with scissors or pinch near the soil. They can not be pulled out so as not to damage the roots of the selected specimen.
Crop Care Recommendations
Agricultural technology for growing Brussels sprouts is not much different from activities for the care of white cabbage.But there are some important nuances that you should learn about in advance. The most important difference is that in Brussels sprouts, 3-4 weeks before the expected harvest, you need to pinch the stem and cut off all the leaves in the socket so that nutrients and moisture from the roots go mainly to heads of cabbage, which by that time should reach the size of a pea. As a result of this procedure, their number and size increase. It is especially important for late-ripening varieties.
Naturally, you need to regularly weed and loosen the bed. Spreading Brussels sprouts is not recommended - heads of cabbage (and the largest ones) are tied even at the base of the stem. Loosening is carried out carefully, to a maximum depth of 8-10 cm. Ideally, this should be done after each watering. The mulch layer is updated as needed. Mulching helps the gardener save time on weeding, in addition, peat, humus, freshly cut grass retain moisture in the soil. Plants will have to be watered less often. This is especially true for those gardeners who do not live on the site permanently.
Like all varieties of cabbage, Brussels is hygrophilous. Depending on how warm and rainy the summer is, it is watered every 2-3 days (in normal weather for the culture) or twice a day (if there is intense heat and there is no rain for a long time). Humidity is also desirable high (70% or more), so additional plants can be sprayed in the evenings.
The water consumption rate is about 35-40 l / m² until the head of cabbage is formed and 45-50 l / m² after that. It is best to irrigate Brussels sprouts to evenly wet the soil. Drop watering is also suitable for her, but pouring water directly under the roots is undesirable. The root system of the plant is superficial, they are quickly exposed and dry.
From fertilizers, culture prefers natural organics. The first time Brussels sprouts are fed 15-20 days after planting seedlings in the ground or a month and a half after the emergence of seedlings.
Young plants need nitrogen to stimulate the growth of green mass. They are watered with a solution of Azofoski, Nitroammofoski, Diammofoski (25-30 g per 10 liters of water). In the future, with nitrogen-containing fertilizers, you need to be careful - their excess negatively affects the immunity of the plant, contributes to the accumulation of nitrates in heads of cabbage and inhibits the process of their formation.
Beginning in late July, with a frequency of once every 1.5–2 weeks, Brussels sprouts are watered with infusion of fresh manure, bird droppings, nettle greens or dandelion leaves. Prepare it for 3-4 days, placing the raw materials in the tank and pouring water. Then the container must be closed with a lid and left in the sun. Before use, the fertilizer is filtered and diluted in a proportion of 1:10 or 1:15 if it is droppings. You can alternate such dressings with store-bought complex fertilizer for cabbage.
Emerging heads of cabbage need phosphorus and potassium. In mid-September, 25-30 g of potassium sulfate and 50-60 g of simple superphosphate are distributed in the bed in a dry form or the plants are watered with a solution, diluting the indicated amount in 10 l of water. Of natural fertilizers at this time, you can use an infusion of wood ash (0.5 liters per 3 liters of boiling water). Also suitable are ABA, Autumn preparations.
Video: growing and caring for Brussels sprouts
Diseases, pests and their control
Diseases and pests are the "Achilles' heel" of most varieties of cabbage. Brussels in this regard is no exception. Therefore, pre-planting seed preparation is mandatory, they follow the planting scheme and do not forget about crop rotation.
Of the pests, the greatest danger to the culture is:
- Cruciferous flea. Adult individuals and their larvae feed on plant tissues, turning cabbage leaves into a sieve in a matter of days. After that, they dry quickly, the plant dies. At the first signs of a pest, cabbage is sprayed with diluted water with vinegar essence (15 ml per 10 l). If there is no effect, use drugs Actellik, Aktara, Foxim. Practice shows that any kind of leaf lettuce planted in the aisles repels the pest.
- Cabbage fly. The larvae of the pest settle on the roots of the plant, eating them from the inside. Then they pass into the stems, in which they also make long "tunnels". For prevention, the soil is dusted with a mixture of tobacco dust, sifted wood ash and ground pepper, taken in approximately equal proportions, a week and a half after planting seedlings into the ground. To scare away adult landings, they are sprayed with infusion of tansy or celandine. In case of a mass invasion, Ambush, Rovikurt, Corsair are used.
- Caterpillar of cabbage scoops. Large grayish-beige caterpillars eat up leaves, starting from the edges. Literally in 2-3 days only streaks remain from them. The plant dries and dies. For prevention, the soil on the bed is regularly loosened, the cabbage is sprayed with foam of green potash or laundry soap, infusion of wood ash. Adult individuals are destroyed by luring with pheromone or home-made traps (deep containers diluted with water with honey, jam, sugar syrup). Their drugs are scared away by Lepidocide, Bitoxibacillin. To combat the larvae, the plants and the soil in the garden are sprayed with a solution of Fufanon, Actellik, Belofos, Talkord.
- Aphid. Almost all garden crops suffer from this pest to one degree or another. Aphids attack plants in whole colonies, literally sticking to the underside of leaves, the top of the stem, and ovaries of heads of cabbage. She feeds on plant juices. The affected tissue is covered with small dots that are clearly visible in the lumen, the leaves are deformed and dry. The pest is scared away from Brussels sprouts, spraying it with infusions of greens of any plants with a pronounced pungent odor. The peel of an orange, dry tobacco leaves, ground red pepper, mustard powder has a similar effect. Processing is carried out every 5-7 days, if the aphid has already appeared on the plant - 3-4 times a day. In the event of a mass invasion of the pest, any general insecticides are used - Inta-Vir, Calypso, Fury, Iskra-Bio, Komandor.
- Snails and slugs. They feed on plant tissues, eating large holes in leaves and heads of cabbage. On the surface there is a layer of sticky silver coating. Young seedlings can be completely destroyed. The shelf life of the damaged Brussels sprouts is sharply reduced, and I really don't want to eat it. A massive invasion of slugs is a rare occurrence. Only in this case it is necessary to use chemicals (Meta, Thunderstorm, Sludge Eater), in all the rest it is quite possible to do with folk remedies. Deckers are lured using traps, digging into the ground cut plastic bottles or other deep containers, filling them with beer, fermented kvass, slices of cabbage or grapefruit. Individual pests can be collected manually - they do not have the ability to disguise in principle, they also do not differ in speed of movement. The stems of plants are surrounded by "barriers" of coarse sand, spruce needles, ground eggshells or nutshells.
Photo gallery: what pests dangerous for Brussels sprouts look like
- Cruciferous flea affects not only all varieties of cabbage, but in general any plants from the Cruciferous family
- It is almost impossible to detect cabbage fly larvae, but they cause significant damage to plants
- The main harm to cabbage is caused by the caterpillars of the cabbage scoop, but also adults must be fought
- Aphids - one of the most "omnivorous" pests that affect garden crops, cabbage is also subjected to its attacks
- Slugs greatly spoil the appearance of heads of cabbage, the damage caused by them also does not affect their durability
Of the diseases, Brussels sprouts most often suffer from fungi. Seeds before planting must be etched in a fungicide solution. But this does not give a one hundred percent guarantee of protection against infection, especially if the care of plantings cannot be called ideal. Most often, Brussels sprouts are attacked by the following diseases:
- Kila. Ugly growths resembling tumors appear on the roots. On the aerial part of the plant, the fungus does not appear in any way. It seems that cabbage stops in development and dies for no reason. To prevent the disease, it is very important to observe crop rotation. The affected keel plant can only be torn out and burned as quickly as possible, thus eliminating the source of infection. The soil in this place for disinfection is shed with a solution of copper sulfate or Bordeaux liquid (0.5 l per 0 l of water).
- White rot. The fungus develops especially well in acidic or nitrogen-saturated soil. Leaves and heads of cabbage are covered with a layer of white plaque, similar to peeling paint. Gradually, it darkens, the affected parts cease to grow and deform, the tissues turn brown and rot. At a late stage of development, the disease is not amenable to treatment. If it has so far affected only individual leaves, the infected tissues are cut out, the “wounds” are washed with 2% copper sulfate, sprinkled with activated carbon crushed into powder. The soil is shed with a solution of any fungicide.
- Dry rot. Leaves and heads of cabbage are covered with light grayish-beige spots with small black spots. The underside of the leaf acquires an unnatural lilac color. The affected tissue is cut with a sharp knife, the plant is treated with Tiram, Fitosporin-M.
- "Blackleg". The disease affects seedlings and develops very quickly. If you do nothing, you can lose the crop already at this stage. The base of the stem blackens and softens, the plant wilts and dries. To protect the seedlings, crushed chalk or wood ash must be added to the seedling soil. At the first signs of the development of the fungus, watering is reduced to the required minimum, water is replaced with a solution of light pink potassium permanganate. Seedlings and the substrate are sprayed with Fitosporin-M, Fitolavin, Bactofit. When transplanting cabbage into the garden bed, Trichodermin or Gliocladin in granules are added to the hole.
- Peronosporosis (downy mildew). The front side of the sheet is covered with yellowish blurry spots, the wrong side is tightened with a continuous layer of ash plaque. Affected tissues turn black and rot. To avoid damage by fungus, the soil on the bed is sprinkled with wood ash, colloidal sulfur, tobacco chips. In the early stages of the development of the disease, it is quite possible to cope with folk remedies - soda ash diluted with water, laundry soap foam, a bright pink solution of potassium permanganate. If it was not noticed on time, fungicides are used - Alirin-B, Topaz, Horus, Baikal-EM and so on. There are also tools that have been tested by more than one generation of gardeners and have proven their effectiveness - Bordeaux liquid and copper sulfate.
- Alternariosis (black spotting). The leaves are covered with small gray-black spots, gradually turning into concentric rings. Then they quickly wither and dry. Prevention and control measures are the same as for peronosporiosis.
Photo gallery: symptoms typical for Brussels sprouts diseases
- A keel of cabbage cannot be detected until a plant is dug from the ground.
- The development of white rot contributes to overfeeding the cabbage with nitrogen, and the fungus also feels very well in acidic soil
- Dry rot most often develops during storage, but cabbage in the garden is also not immune to it.
- The "black leg" affects not only cabbage, but also any seedlings in general, the disease develops rather quickly, therefore measures must be taken immediately
- The plaque that appears on the leaves with the development of peronosporiosis seems harmless, but in fact it is a symptom of a dangerous disease
- Any fungicides are used to fight alternariosis - the fungus does not tolerate copper compounds
Harvesting and storage
Do not rush to harvest Brussels sprouts if the cold is approaching. Practice shows that the taste qualities of heads of cabbage only improve from exposure to low temperatures (within -6-7 ° C). But if it is expected to cool down to -10ºС and lower, this culture will not tolerate this. The stalk is cut off at the base, the rosette of leaves is cut off at the top. In this form, heads of cabbage can be stored for about a month.
And if you take out the whole plant from the soil, cut off the leaves and dig in the basement or cellar, covering the roots with wet peat or sand, the period increases to 3-4 months. Brussels sprouts will not take up much space - up to 30 plants can be placed on 1 m². Nutrients from the stem continue to flow to the heads of cabbage, so during storage they increase a little more in volume.
For harvesting, choose a dry, cloudy, cool day. Typically, heads are cut off, gradually moving up the plant stem from the bottom. The signal that the next head of ripened is a dried or fallen leaf in the bosom of which it is located. As a rule, early Brussels sprouts are cut at a time, late - for 2-3 "approach".
The maximum shelf life is 3-4 months. Heads of cabbage are cut together with a "stump", with which they are attached to the stem, and selected those where there is not the slightest trace of damage by insects, rot, mold and so on. They are laid out in small boxes or cardboard boxes, sprinkled with sawdust, sand, wood shavings, scraps of newsprint. You can wrap each in a plastic film, but it will take a lot of time. Boxes are stored in the basement, cellar, other dark place with good ventilation, maintaining a constant temperature of 2-4ºС and air humidity at the level of 70-80%.
In the refrigerator, in a special compartment for fruits and vegetables, Brussels sprouts will lie for no more than 4-6 weeks. Keeping the crop as long as possible will help freezing. As practice shows, the benefits and taste of heads do not suffer for a year and a half.
The heads of cabbage intended for freezing are washed, the top leaves are removed if they are dry or damaged. Then they are immersed in cold water for 15 minutes, after which they are blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The excess liquid is allowed to drain, the cabbage is sent for a few minutes to the freezer, which operates in the “shock” freezing mode, spreading out the heads on baking sheets covered with paper towels. After that, they are immediately laid out in bags with sealed fasteners and sent for storage. Cooked frozen Brussels sprouts before serving for a very short time, literally 2-3 minutes.
Video: Brussels sprouts freezing procedure
The cultivation of Brussels sprouts, which is not only very tasty, but also good for health, is not particularly difficult. The main obstacle for the gardener is the climate. But if you plant it with seedlings and competently take care of the plants, it is quite possible to get a good harvest. And in the southern regions with a subtropical climate, a thermophilic culture is also grown from seeds sown directly in the garden.