Brussel Sprouts BC

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by Lysichiton, May 25, 2008.

  1. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    I have just plant-out some Brussels after several years of not growing them. My previous results were not that great.

    Any suggestions for growing West Coast Brussels? I think they may need some lime & mulch. Beyond that... I dunno.

    gb
     
  2. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    I planted them here in Vancouver three years ago. They were great. But inedible.

    Problem is that they evidently grow in layers. The flower, or whatever it is, grows one layer. Then another. Then another. And so on

    Now, you know that it rains constantly here. When it rains, rain hits the soil around the plant. Dirt splashes up. It hits the outside of the "flower". It sticks.

    The next layer of the flower then grows. In encysts the dirt.

    The process continues.

    When I harvested my sprouts, I found that below the outer layer was dirty. So I cut off the outer layer, washed them off, and checked below what was now the outer layer (formerly the second layer). There was dirt below it too.

    I kept on going until I was down to nothing.

    That was the case with every flower on every plant.

    Conclusion: must not grow them where dirt can splash on them when it rains.

    This year I am growing to spread newspapers around each plant and brush dirt off of them whenever I see it.
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    Hmm, you seem to have experienced a similar problem as I did - with a different interpretation. I found small greyish specks between each layer (as you say), I ended up with nothing after repeated trimming. I thought they were insects, but I have not been able to find anything similar under Brassica pests. I would describe them as scale insects with fur.

    I am not convinced that sprouts grow layer by layer in the way you decribe, but then how do the bugs get in there? there were no obvious holes on my sprouts.

    The newspaper is not a bad idea, traditional too. Then I can read while I weed.

    I think we might both need an expert...Hello?

    gb.
     
  4. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    Aha! Answering my own question. UC site had this at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r108300811.html

    Cabbage Aphid
    Scientific Name: Brevicoryne brassicae
    (Reviewed 6/07, updated 6/07)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST
    Cabbage aphids are green gray with a white, waxy coating. They commonly occur in dense colonies, often covered with waxy droplets. They prefer to feed on the youngest leaves and flowering parts and are often found deep within the heads of cabbages or Brussels sprouts. The aphid has a simple life cycle with adult females giving birth to live offspring throughout the year in most parts of California. Both winged and wingless adults occur; the winged adults have a black thorax and lack the waxy coating. The aphid does not infest noncruciferous crops but can survive on related weed species when cole crops are not in the field.



    They do occur in BC. Control seems a bit hard. I shall take my chances & use some insecticidal soap early in the budding procees, otherwise |'ll take them out plant by plant if they are infected & buy the sprouts instead.

    I do love brussels even tho' they have poor street cred. I try to get people to eat them by calling them "boutique designer cabbages" - with limited success.

    gb
     
  5. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    The stuff within my sprouts was definitely dark - dirt colored - but I don't have a distinct enough recollection of it to deny that this was it.

    I hate sprouts when they are cooked in some traditional way. But daughter #2 has started cooking interesting dishes and we have found that they are really excellent in many different recipes. And like many veggies the difference between store-bought and home-grow is enormous.

    I may treat a few plants differently as an experiment.
     
  6. Lostmind

    Lostmind Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody
    We did a taste test in house. Safeway purchased brussel sprouts and organic brussel sprouts from a market here.

    Cooked in butter with onion, salt & pepper, thyme and a few thin slices of bacon. While both dishes tasted good, the organic brussel sprouts were almost sweet compared to the slightly larger, woodier safeway purchased ones.

    I'm also trying to grow a few plants at home for the first time. I wonder if something like a neem oil would help? Or a big order of ladybugs somehow trained to stay in my backyard... hmmm
     
  7. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

    Messages:
    484
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, usa
    Try planting them in late July, aiming for a harvest October-November. Floating row covers also help with the cabbage aphid, as long it is in place early. The fall harvested brussels sprouts, touched by several frosts, are super sweet.
     
  8. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    ...aagghh! I thought I was in the clear till we picked the first Brussels...loaded with cabbage aphid. I haven't grown them for about 10 years. I guess I won't for another 10. Unless I take a lot more care & cover the rows etc.. Darn.

    gb
     
  9. JanR

    JanR Active Member

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lakeland, Manitoba
    Try a floating row cover. I had a terrible time with flea beetles this year and next year I am going to use a floating row cover for all my brassicas. I already bought it (Lee Valley) so I am already. :)
     
  10. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Tho my brussels plants are covered with aphids right now, I just ignore them... my strategy has always worked fine.

    Start them later, like silver creek mentions, and don't plan on eating them till December. The critters will have disappeared in a normal cold winter, and the sprouts will be much tastier with the sweetening effect of the frosts.

    Those black spots are some kind of fungal/bacterial spot, I get some of that too. If they are throughout the sprout, it does make them kinda pointless. Hmmm. Our dull wet winters do tend to grow those kind of spots and blemishes on things, arrgh...
     
  11. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    growest,

    Please see the posts above. The aphids I am troubled with are found deep within the heads of cabbages or Brussels sprouts. They are not visible until the sprout is cut. I am familiar with sprout growing & harvesting, but discontinued it years ago after failing to find a way of dealing with these bud inhabiting aphids without recourse to systemic pesticides. I hoped after a long period that I might get away with growing them again.

    The floating row cover seems to be the only solution that may work for me.

    I am quite capable of dealing with the regular caterpillars & aphids that are on the surface of the veggies, thank you.

    gb
     
  12. Acoma

    Acoma Active Member

    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada Zone 6A
    With regards to aphids, try pepper tea. Only thing is that after the rains it needs to be reapplied. It creates a waxy cover and aphids do not like the taiste. As for splashing of dirt building up on the plant, use mulch to obsorb the water droplets instead of the drops hitting dirt, then splashing up?
     
  13. alegrea

    alegrea Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    vancouver
    My husband grew bs this year for the first time. They were covered in aphids, so we aren't feeling so bad after reading these posts. We'll probably try them again next year, heeding the advice here.
    I like garlic/cayenne sprays since they've worked so well on my flowers. That spray was my first thought for the bs aphids, but it was too late - they were smothered in them so we tossed them entirely.

    I want to grow a large amount of brassicas and coles next year so I better learn as much as I can on this subject, since they seem like quite a challenge.
     
  14. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    The Brassicas aren't so much the challenge for me - it's the Cabbage White caterpillars, slugs, snails, aphids & some unidentified thing that eats the roots! Post an update on the cayenne/garlic spray next year...if I get too depressed by pest attacks, I can always spray it on my store-bought supper instead.

    We have had one feed of Brussels so far. Some were infested with internal aphids, but many were OK (what's a bit of extra protein, eh?).
    I hope my next couple of pickings will be as good. Then the exercise will not have been entirely in vain.

    gb
     
  15. Acoma

    Acoma Active Member

    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada Zone 6A
    Also for aphids, I had no issues this year because twice a week I went around town and collected the ladybud larvae. Pretty much got rid of the aphid issue.
     
  16. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    I covered mine with cloth, but almost certainly too late: when I opened it a few weeks ago, one plant - which I pulled up and threw out - was covered with aphids. I dare not take the cloth off again: much like the girl in the movies I watched as a kid (sorry, it was indeed always a girl) who foolishly opened the door to see what howled outside at midnight, I tremble at what I might see. I will probably remove the cloth on December 23 and toss the whole infested mass into the City's garden-refuse-recycling container. Maybe next year ...
     
  17. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    ...Acoma probably stole all the ladybug larvae! Give him heck. When did you put the cover on? I think these would only work for a few weeks after planting out. Some of my plants are 4' (120cm for the binumeral among us) high - they'd need a bloomin' greenhouse. Ain't gonna happen.

    gb
     
  18. JanR

    JanR Active Member

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lakeland, Manitoba
    I think you need to put it on as soon as you plant them and you must cover the edges with soil to keep out the bugs. It might be a bit of a problem with when the plants grow 4 feet tall, but I believe you can buy it in various widths.
     

Share This Page