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  • Writer's pictureTraci Arellano

Teenie Tiny Brussel Sprouts

The super cool thing about gardening is that nothing REALLY is a's an EXPERIMENT! My brussel sprouts ended up being kinda small. I attribute that to planting them too late in the season and planting them where they were lacking the sunshine that they required early on, and possibly not fertilizing the soil enough. Once I realized that the brussels were starting to decline...thus at their peak...even though they were still a bit tiny (not the 1" diameter sprouts that I was expecting) I've decided to harvest the plants and see how they cook up.

Mistake #1 I planted the brussel sprout seedlings with a packet of Mammoth Sunflower seeds in late spring. These were the 6 brussel sprout seedlings when first planted.

Mistake #2: The sunflowers quickly over took the brussel plants. Eventually the sunflowers grew to 6'-8' and blocked a lot of the sunshine. The crows, goldfinches and gopher loved the sunflowers...the brussels, not so much. Once the sunflowers were spent and pulled though, the brussels were then allowed to flourish.

Mistake #3: Not harvesting when the temperatures were still cool. We had a longer spring this year, thanks to Puxatawny Phil, and thus had cooler temperatures easily 6 weeks longer than usual. We ultimately ended up with some "blown buttons", but in all awareness (after the fact) that was more from poor soil than from late harvesting.

Honestly, our sprouts are on the smallish side, but they taste like brussel sprouts, not bitter, and while tiny, they actually strike me as a gourmet item. I am actually surprised I haven't seen tiny sprouts featured as a Chopped (TV food series) basket item! They are super cute and tasty.

However in the spirit of learning and being a better gardener, I found the following pearls in my internet research..."When learning how to grow brussel sprouts it is important to remember they require a firm, fertile soil as the main cause of failure (blown buttons) is loose, infertile soil"..."Using the three year crop rotation is ideal as you can plant them where peas and beans grew the previous year as their soil would have had manure or compost dug in."..."This gives time for the essential firmness to establish, whilst having that all important fertility"... "an essential first tip if you are just starting to learn how to grow brussel sprouts." (

Tell me if you agree, the take-away from that bit of wisdom, for me, is that I need to grow peas and/or beans in that area next AND I definitely need to fertilize it with some manure. Are any of you beginning gardeners having similar issues? I would love to hear what you are experiencing in your gardens.

As always, happy healthy eating and continued good growing!

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