A November Harvest – Brussel Sprouts

Today I harvested the first of my brussel sprouts in November.  And not the beginning of November, but the 30th!

These plants were planted the second week of June and have been in the ground for over 145 days.  I looked often in September and October but the sprouts remained only about a 1/2″ in size.   Luckily, we have had a long cool fall with little snow and only short bouts of below freezing temperatures.  After huge rains September 15th flooded areas along the front range, especially the Boulder area, little precipitation has fallen.  The average temperature this November was 45 degrees.

As this is my first year growing brussel sprouts I didn’t know what to expect, nor when to harvest.  They definitely do well with frosty nights and warmer days.  We had some snow in mid-November and the temp got down to 18 degrees.  After that, the plants leaves wilted a bit but still seem okay after the warm weather we’ve had.  Although I winterized my sprinkler in early October, I have hand watered the plants to keep them happy.   I have only been able to harvest at most a third of each plant, so will update this if I manage another round.  To help in next years harvest I’ve added some tips.  It may be that a warmer fall will mean a longer wait for harvest.  Today I finally cut the growing tips off the plants so we shall see whether the rest of the sprouts mature before winter sets in for good.


Tips for Sowing

Plan to plant your brussels in late spring, and begin your seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before planting.  If planted in June, the plant will have time for some growth before fall.  They take a long time to mature up to 100 days and are considered a cool season crop that needs a light frost to prompt the best growth.

Tips for Growing

When grown in an area with a lot of heat, keeping the soil evenly moist is a requirement or the crop may fail.  You should consider mulching the soil to keep in the moisture as well.

Commercial growers remove the 6 – 8 bottom-most leaves as the sprouts begin to appear but it’s not necessary.

Tips for Harvest

Fool sprouts into maturing at once by cutting off the growing tip of the plant a three weeks before you want to harvest.

Harvest when sprouts are 1″ wide and before the leaves turn yellow.

If you let the growing tip remain and have begun harvesting, cut the growing tip of the plant to encourage the rest of the sprouts to mature.

Still trying to grow in late November

Tips for Cooking

Did you know the leaves are edible as well?  For lots of interesting ideas head to BUZZFEED

The two I have my eye on:

Warm Chickpea, Mushroom, and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples

Otherwise a great simple method that is ALWAYS delicious:

  1. Prepare a baking sheet coated with olive oil.
  2. Add brussels, rolling them to cover in olive oil (You may need a little extra).
  3. Salt / Pepper them
  4. Bake at 400,  30 minutes or more depending on how crunchy you like them,
  5. Be sure to roll them now and again to allow all sides to get brown and crispy.
  6. Serve



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