[Market-farming] broccoli leaves and brussel sprouts

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Tue Oct 27 13:55:31 EDT 2009

On Oct 27, 2009, at 11:27 AM, Marty Kraft wrote:

> How do you know when to remove the brussel sprout tips?
On Oct 27, 2009, at 12:16 PM, sunnfarm wrote:

> You have to make that judgement yourself but usually when the lowest 
> sprouts are an inch in size... Bob.

On Oct 27, 2009, at 12:21 PM, courtney mcleod wrote:

> Bob…can you explain this more to me about removing the tips to make 
> the sprouts?  I have 2 kinds out there…leaving them out there as they 
> are fine but not fully developed?

I pinch the tips in early to midSeptember here, as soon as the plants 
are as tall as I want them, even if the sprouts are all still quite 

As long as the tips remain, the plant will keep trying to grow taller, 
putting on more sprouts at the top as it grows. All the sprouts will be 
growing, but bottom sprouts will be larger, and the new ones at the top 
of course will still be quite small when the bottom ones are more than 
big enough to harvest. If you want to harvest individual larger sprouts 
and leave the plants in the field to produce more, then you don't want 
to pinch the tips; just take whatever sprouts are big enough for you. 
But if you want more uniform sized sprouts -- as you will if you want 
to harvest the whole stalk at once, either to sell them on the stalk or 
for convenience of harvest -- you need to pinch the growing tips off. 
The plant will then put its energy into all the sprouts that are 
already there, and they'll increase in size more evenly. You also want 
to pinch the tips if you may run out of growing season before most of 
the sprouts get to size -- the sprouts that have already set will grow 
faster. (The growing season for brussels sprouts continues for some 
time after frost, but growth does slow down, and eventually stops, at 
least here, even if the plants survive the lowest temperatures. If the 
plants overwinter (here they usually don't, but they did one year) the 
sprouts won't resume growing next spring; they'll instead go to bloom. 
The flowers are edible, but don't sell well here.)

It hadn't occured to me to eat the tips. Will definitely try this next 

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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