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How To Grow Brussel Sprouts In Canada
Brussel sprouts are a staple frozen food to have. But when it comes to growing your own brussel sprouts there are a few things to keep in mind. This gardening in Canada article is going to look at how to grow brussel sprouts in Canada start to finish. We will be looking at how to start Brussel plants indoors, common issues, fertilizer and other needs.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles and make YouTube videos all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
Starting Brussel Sprout Seeds Indoors
Brussel sprouts may be a cold climate crop but they need a relatively long growing season to produce veggies. The average number of days to harvest is 80-90 days which is similar to that of a tomato plant. This is why for many of the zones in Canada we need to start our brussel sprouts inside. For some zones the start time may be in February and for others it may be April. If you are unsure as to what your zone is or when your start time should be check out this article here.
Transplanting Brussel Sprouts Outside
When transplanting brussel sprouts outdoors you want to follow the same protocol of hardening off as you would with any plant. Brussel sprouts are able to withstand a small level of colder temperatures. That means we don’t have to wait for warm nights before transplanting the seedlings outdoors. If you are wanting to learn more about how to harden plants off for transplant check out this article.
One of my favourite methods for reducing transplant shock in brussel sprout seedlings is using a bucket. The bucket provides shelter from both the sun and wind. The sun and wind can both cause a drying effect. This drying effect can cause stress of the plant which ultimately can harm the plants.
Sunlight Needs For Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprout plants will do best in full sun. However, they can be planted in areas with some shade just fine. If your area is particularly sunny then keep in mind shade cloth may be needed. The important part when selecting an area is understanding the work involved.
If during the mid summer heat you notice excessive wilting it may be due to excess heat. The best way to fix this is by using shade cloth to reduce sun exposure. When looking how to grow brussel sprouts in canada you always want to consider the temperature fluctuations.
Water Needs For Brussel Sprouts
The water needs for brussel sprouts are relatively high. The added bonus is that water helps keep both the soil and the plant cool in the heat of the summer. Brussel sprouts will need less water in the cooler months then the mid summers so keep that in mind.
My favourite watering schedule is once every three days for 45 mins at a time. This provides a nice deep watering effect which is better than a shallow watering once a day. This can help the plant survive drought periods by forcing the roots deeper into the soil profile.
Fertilizer Needs For Brussel Sprouts
Using an all purpose fertilizer is all brussel sprouts need. Keep in mind they do enjoy a fertilizer blend with sulphur. This means you should grab an all purpose that lists sulphur as the fourth highest % of nutrients. Click here for the soil scientist approved organic fertilizer. Click here for the soil scientist approved conventional fertilizer.
Common Pests For Brussel Sprouts
- leaf miners
- snails and slugs
These are all very easily controlled with a combination of bug netting and nematodes for the soil. The netting should be put in place when signs of the bugs arrive. But if you want to be one step ahead look up when each pests peak season arrives. This will give you an idea of when to begin covering your brussel sprouts.
Also try using nematodes. I have an entire article on using these for protection against snails, slugs, thrips, mealy bugs, ants and fungus gnats to name a few. Click here to grab your nematodes.
Topping Brussel Sprouts For Fast Formation
If your growing season is coming to an end and your sprouts seem small then you will need to top. Topping can be done with brussel sprouts and even tomatoes to encourage faster fruit development. The process simply redirects the energy from upwards growth into the fruits. I like to top at the end of August here in zone three and that gives the plant two weeks before the normal first frost.
Frost for harvest
If you enjoy a brussel sprout that is less bitter and firm try leaving the sprouts on the stalk till after the first frost. This can add to the flavour without fully freezing the sprout.
There you have it, the complete guide to growing brussel sprouts in Canada. Keep in mind an early indoor start is needed. Keep the heat down around hre plant using shade cloth and water. Let me know your tips and tricks for success in the garden with brussel sprouts.