Hamilton College Community Farm

Plant: Brussels Sprout

Family: Brassica

Seed Varieties:

There are a few different varieties of Brussels sprouts, but all are very similar. In the past, Oliver Brussels sprouts have been used, and produced well in the 2010 season.

Indoor Start Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession - 3/10 in open 200s Fall succession-5/15 in open 200s

Greenhouse Transplant Date and Cell Size:

Spring succession - 3/24 into 38s Fall succession-5/29 into 38s

Outdoor Transplant Date and Bed Specifications:

Brussels sprouts can be planted outside as soon as the ground is workable in the spring, about a month after initial planting (4/14 for the spring succession and 6/19 for the fall succession). Plant Brussels sprouts every four feet, with three rows per bed (they need plenty of space). Be sure to plant the seedling the whole way up to their first leaves, as this will promote healthy root development, making the plant hardier.

Plant Needs:

Brussels Sprouts need plenty of space, and thrive in cool weather. If they grow too much during the dry heat of the summer, they will have a bitter taste. It is especially important to water the plants thoroughly during the summer months, or they will not produce in the fall.

Cultivation Techniques:

Shallow cultivation to avoid root damage is important. Some of the lower leaves can be removed as the plant grows, which can help with the speed of development. About three weeks before harvesting, the growing point of the plant can be removed (called topping) which will aid in completion of development. It is also very important to remove all bugs, slugs and snails from the plants, as they can do great damage to the sprouts.

Pests and Pest Control:

Some of the most common problems with Brussels Sprouts are slugs, snails, and aphids. Bowls of beer, placed just to ground level can attract and drown slugs and snails, and some people say is an affective method of control. They can also be picked off by hand.

Harvest Techniques:

When the majority of sprouts on a stalk are of size, cut the whole stalk off at the base with a sharp knife. The sprouts can then be carefully broken from the stalk by hand for easier storage and handling.


Keep Brussels sprouts refrigerated after harvesting them. Washing is unnecessary and may decrease the shelf life. However, keeping Brussels sprouts for more than a few days is not recommended.


For retail, sell at $4.00 per stalk and for wholesale, sell at $2.50 per stalk.


Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

  1. Fry one package of bacon in a skillet. Crumble into small pieces and set aside in a covered bowl to stay warm.
  2. Slice 1 quart of fresh Brussels sprouts in half. Fry them until beginning to brown in the same skillet used for the bacon, using the remaining bacon grease.
  3. Serve the sprouts and bacon stirred together.

Alterations: Left over bacon grease can be used if bacon is not desired. For a vegetarian option, use olive oil instead of bacon grease for an equally delicious dish.