Removing brussels sprouts leaves

bomber095(z5b MA)July 11, 2014

I have been reading from multiple sources that you should remove the lower leaves of brussels sprouts plants as they mature. My question is when do you do it? I've got five plants, all around 2' tall. They look great, so I want to make sure I dont do anything prematurely

Also, the stalks arent very big around yet, maybe 1.5" diameter. When does that 'round out'?

Here is a link that might be useful: Brussels sprouts picture

This post was edited by bomber095 on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 9:26

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Some do and some don't. Try both and see which works best for you. The theory is that trimming them back to about 1" out from the main stem allows the sprouts to grow bigger/rounder as they aren't compressed by the branches and they get better sun exposure.

You can see in your photo how crowded it can get in there. But don't remove them until the sprout is at least thumbtip size and don't trim too close and undermine the sprout itself. Based on your photo I'd trim off about 4-5 leaves coming up from the bottom and leave the rest for a bit more as the sprouts are still pretty small.

Toward harvest time (after a good fall frost) you'll find yourself with a stalk with just a top tuft of leaves. Then just harvest the whole stalk.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of trimmed and untrimmed BS plants

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:19PM
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ChristineRVA

I didn't know to do this, so I'm glad you asked this question!

For those of you who have grown brussels sprouts before, do you eat the leaves you trim off? Could I just chop them up and cook them like cabbage?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:49PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

"Could I just chop them up and cook them like cabbage?"

If you want to eat them, you might want to think of them more along the lines of kale or collards rather than cabbage.

Rodney

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Don't care for them personally. Fibrous, tough and chewy. If you do I suggest you cut out the central rib of the leaves before cooking them.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:54PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Cutting off the lower leaves seems to be a US thing. It's not something I've ever seen in gardening books or advice here so clearly it doesn't really matter either way. The lower leaves yellow and drop anyway as the season progresses. In late winter you can cut out the top of the plant and eat it like cabbage. It is tender and tastier then cabbage imo. It is sold here as 'sprout tops'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sprout tops

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 1:09PM
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planatus(6)

I have taste tested the best of the b sprout leaves, the little topknot of foliage that comes on late, in cool weather, and it was spit-out bad.

I leave the lower leaves on until harvest time begins. As with other cabbages, they naturally shed as the plants age, and want to be pulled off.

My big seedlings started in early June will go out this week. It's a strange planting schedule, but that's how we get sweet sprouts in Oct and Nov.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:07AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Well, planatus - that's depressing to hear. Maybe you chose a bad bunch, cooked them in a way that didn't suit them or they just aren't to your taste but they are a delicious veggie in my view and, as I said, are harvested and marketed as a seasonal vegetable in their own right here. I would hate people to be put off trying them by your experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sprout tops - again.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:22AM
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