The Q&A Archives: When To Pick Brussels Sprouts

Question: This is the first year I have planted Brussels sprouts, and the sprouts look very big already. I am unsure when I should pick them as well as what to look for. How can I tell if they are ready to be picked and why do they now look so big?

Answer: Usually Brussels sprouts are picked from the bottom of the stem working upward. They can be picked as soon as they are large enough to eat (about 1" in diameter, with tightly curled leaves). As you harvest, remove the leaf associated with the sprout. To harvest, cut the little heads off with a sharp knife.

If your sprouts are starting to "unfurl", they may not taste very good. They may even start to form flower buds and blossoms. Harvesting them should encourage the plants to continue producing more sprouts. Continue to harvest regularly to keep the plants in production.

Most often they are planted about four months before the expected harvest, with harvest tradtionally being done in the fall. The reason for this is that they taste better when they mature during cool weather and can even withstand frosts and snowy weather.

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