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Brussels Sprouts


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Brussels Sprouts



Brussels Sprouts

CULTURE: The most delicious Brussels sprouts grow in irrigated, fertile soil, and are harvested after frosts. The soil pH should be above 6.0.
TRANSPLANTING: In May, sow thinly (3-4 seeds/in.) in flats, in 1 1/2"-cell containers, or in outdoor beds. Transplant in 4-6 weeks, 18-24" between plants.
DIRECT SEEDING: About 4 months before expected fall frost, sow 3 seeds every 18", 1/4- 1/2" deep, rows 30" apart; thin to 1 plant.
DISEASES AND INSECT PESTS: See "Cabbage".
HARVEST: After frost and until the end of December in most areas, and through the winter where cold is not severe. Pick when sprouts are firm and well formed. Break off the leaf below the sprout and snap off the sprout. The upper sprouts continue to form and enlarge as the lower ones are harvested.
WHOLE-STEM HARVESTING, MARKETING, AND TOPPING: For a once-over harvest (uniform maturity of most sprouts on the plant) and whole-stem marketing, the plants should be topped: pinch out the growing point (rosette of several small leaves at the top of the plant) when the lower sprouts are 1/2- 3/4" in diameter. A full stem of uniform-size sprouts will develop in about 4 weeks.
STORAGE: Before ground freezes, pull plants out by the roots and place in a humid cooler at 32F (0C) or cold cellar for 4-6 weeks.
DAYS TO MATURITY: From transplanting; add about 20 days for direct seeding.
TRANSPLANTS: Avg. 800 plants/1,000 seeds.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: 80,000-150,000 (avg. 112,000).
PKT: 80 seeds (direct seeds avg. 40', avg. 60 transplants).


Brussels Sprouts


THE BENEFITS OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Brussels Sprouts are a slow growing vegetable that are frost resistant and provide a good crop over the winter months. Each sprout resembles a small cabbage.

Preparation

Brussels Sprouts are part of the Brassica group of crops and to help avoid disease and pests they should not be planted in soil which has had other Brassicas (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, turnips, kale, cauliflowers etc) grown in it within at least the last 2 years. Dig some organic compost into the soil a few weeks before planting to help the soils moisture retention properties.

Health Benefits Of Eating Brussels Sprouts

  • Recent studies and continuous research has revealed that phytonutrients present in certain cruciferous vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, initiate the production of certain enzymes that are involved in the process of detoxification, by sending certain signals to human genes. It is this process of detoxification that helps in the elimination of harmful compounds from the human body.
  • Consumption of cruciferous vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, also provides defense against prostate, colorectal and lung cancer. However, it is always advisable to choose the organically grown varieties, as they are higher in the phytonutrient levels.
  • Vitamin C, one of the most important water-soluble antioxidant in the body, is present in high amounts in Brussels sprouts. This vitamin is very essential for the production of collagen (a protein), which is the basis of a number of body structures, like the skin, connective tissue, tendons, and cartilage. In addition, the vitamin is important for strengthening the body immune system.
  • Brussels also aids in promoting a healthy colon and helps in preventing diseases like colon cancer and diverticulosis. This is due to the presence of high amounts of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) in sprouts. It is approximated that a single cup of Brussels sprouts contains around 4 grams of fiber. In addition, the regular intake of fiber helps in the easy passage of stool.
  • The vegetable is also effective in the prevention of plague formation in blood vessels of the body. Apolipoprotein, a cholesterol transporter, is considered to be the main carrier of LDL to tissues and high levels of this cholesterol have a negative effect on normal cardio-vascular function. Sprouts prevent this by lowering the secretion of this transporter, with the aid of a phytonutrient, indole-3-carbinol.
  • Folic acid, an essential vitamin for the proper development of neural tube in babies, is present in Brussels sprouts. Deficiency of this vitamin is linked with the development of a number of congenital defects in newborns, like spina bifida. It is estimated that a single cup of sprouts has around 93.6 mg of folic acid.
  • Research has also indicated that vitamin C-rich foods, like Brussels sprouts, provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a type of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) involving two or more joints.
Caution
  • Intake of sprouts can sometimes cause flatulence, because of their high carbohydrate content, which is very difficult for the body to digest.
  • Brussels sprouts do not normally cause allergic reactions and are low on oxalate and purine content.