Oh, the Brussels Sprouts…
I’m back around the office (and the Demo Garden) after being out for two days! When I got back last night I had my first opportunity to check on things after the freeze on Monday night. The row covers were still on, and the poor seedlings were getting close to the roasting stage underneath! Happily though, everything is still in good condition and growing. We really could use a little bit of rain to push the seedlings along. (I know how to guarantee rain – I’ll go out and water everything!)
On a sadder note, I am getting closer and closer to yanking the Brussels sprouts out. The 3 plants that are still there are starting to pull out of the abuse that we’ve put them through. However, part of that is using the buds on the stem that would normally become the Brussels sprouts to leaf out to replace side leaves that have been lost due to weather. This is a good example of doing something “wrong” while expecting the plant to be okay with it.
Because we used the Brussel sprouts at the Wichita Garden Show, they were much larger and more developed than transplants normally should be for late March. I also put them outside without hardening them off, and exposed
them to below freezing temperatures several times (3 times below 26 degrees). Cole crops (also known as Brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, b. sprouts, cabbage, kale), can be particularly susceptible to bolting (flowering, buttoning, or otherwise losing quality) when subjected to stressful conditions. This tendency is particularly accute when the plants are subjected to wildly fluctuating hot and cold temperatures.
Had I planted the Brussels sprouts at the right stage with proper hardening, they would likely be in good shape for a productive year. As it is, I will decide in another few days if they will stay or get replaced with something else.