Plant BRUSSELS SPROUTS
May to June is the period for planting out your Brussels. The Ministry’s plan provides for two rows, 2½ ft. between rows and the same distance between plants.
Don’t forget that the plants need a long season of growth to develop properly. If your ground is poor, you would do well to fork well into the surface, before planting, 2 oz. to the square yard of some complete fertiliser such as “National Growmore“, which is of special value to crops that have to stand the winter.
Be careful in lifting from the seedbed to see that you get a good ball of soil round the roots. Should the weather be dry, water the seedbed row the night before. Plant with a dibber deep enough to bury the roots and stem up to the first leaves. Press the soil firmly round the plant with the dibber or your heel. If you plant in dry weather give the plants a good watering. Some gardeners practise puddling, placing soil and water in a bucket and plunging the plants’ roots in it before planting.
If the dry weather continues, water the plants each day, if you can, until they are established and show signs of making new growth. Hoe frequently between rows and plants. To make watering more effective some gardeners plant in a drill about three or four in. deep.
Cabbages, cauliflowers and especially Brussels sprouts like to be planted firmly as they are susceptible to wind-rock. This is where the wind rocks the plant (as the name suggests) which causes the fine root hairs on the roots to break. These are the part of the root that take in nutrients and without them the plant starves – even in a rich soil.
If you’ve a particularly light soil or windy location, staking or providing a wind break will help get good growth.
The other important factor for success with the cabbage tribe is the acidity of the soil. They thrive in soils that are neutral or slightly alkaline. Adding lime to the soil the winter before planting is very helpful but even adding lime at planting time will help with acid soils. See Page 4 of the January Guide – National Growmore & Lime