Image by Tony Alter
By Heather Rhoades
Even under the best conditions, growing brussel sprouts is a tricky challenge for a gardener. Because the time needed to grow brussel sprouts is so long and the temperatures needed for proper growth are so narrow, there are often problems with growing brussel sprouts correctly. One of these issues is when the plant has loose leafed, poorly formed heads. This problem can be addressed with proper brussel sprouts care.
What Causes Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads?
Loose leafed, poorly formed heads is directly related to when the heads form. If the heads form in the appropriate weather, which is cool weather, the heads will be firm. If the heads form in weather that is too warm, the plant will produce loose leafed, poorly formed heads.
Brussel Sprouts Care to Prevent Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads
Since this issue is related to warm weather, if possible try to plant your brussel sprouts earlier. The use of a cold frame or hoop house can help in areas that are prone to late frosts.
If planting earlier is not an option, you may want to switch the kind of brussel sprouts. Grow brussel sprouts with a shorter maturity time. These varieties mature weeks ahead of normal brussel sprouts and will develop heads during a cooler time in the season.
Making sure that the plant has plenty of nutrients can also help the plant fight producing loose leafed, poorly formed heads in warm weather. Work in fertilizer or manure into the soil you plan on planting your brussel sprouts in. You can also trim the top of the plant once it reaches 2-3 feet tall. This will help it redirect energy back into the heads.
With a little bit of change to your brussel sprouts care, growing brussel sprouts that do not have loose leafed, poorly formed heads will be possible.