Brussels sprouts — they’re not the same veggies you turned your nose up when the lunch lady filled the spot on your tray you preferred to see French fries when you were a child.

They are wonderful baked in the oven with a little olive oil drizzled over them, sprinkled with some sea or kosher salt or grilled in foil packets seasoned the same. They are packed with nutrients but not with calories.

And yes, it’s Brussels sprouts not Brussel sprouts. So how and when to grow these tasty globes?

Brussels sprouts are a Cole crop, as are broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Cole crops are considered a cool season crop and do best in full sunlight when grown in sandy loam soils with lots of organic matter.

They prefer soils with a pH of 6 to 6.5; yield will be reduced if the soil pH is below 6. These crops require good drainage so mound the soil 12 inches wide, 6-8 inches high and space the mounds 36 inches apart. Look for these varieties of Brussels sprouts which work well in Texas: Diablo, Jade Cross, Royal Marvel and Tasty Nugget.

Space your plants 14-18 inches apart atop your mounds. After planting, water them in and provide some shade protection until they acclimate to the planting site. Keep the soil moist but not soaked, mulch with dried leaves or grass clippings. Fertilize about 4 weeks after planting.

Harvesting Brussels sprouts

Sprouts appear between leaves and the main stem on lower leaves first. They must have cool weather for best quality. When the sprouts are about 1 inch in diameter and the lower leaves begin to turn yellow, cut off lower leaves and remove sprouts with your fingers or a knife.

New sprouts form higher up the stem as the plant grows. Plants should begin to arrive at nurseries soon. Happy planting.

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Carolyn Neff of Grandview is a volunteer for Texas AgriLife Extension and a Johnson County Master Gardener. For information, call the Extension office at 817-556-6370. Like us on Facebook at Johnson County Master Gardeners.

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