new issue on salenow!
Grow Phil Dudman's favourite

Grow Phil Dudman’s favourite

Story by

Our horticultural editor Phil Dudman has discovered a new gardening joy: brussels sprouts.

My new-found love is brussels sprouts. It’s only a few years ago that I started growing them. Having done most of my food growing in the subtropics, I’ve always been told that it’s too warm for them – they prefer a cold climate – then I met a farmer at my local farmers’ market who was growing them with great success. What a revelation! I had to have some of that action! I’m in Lismore, northern NSW, where, as it turns out, overnight temperatures in winter provide enough chill to establish a good crop. 

I quickly fell in love with this quirky looking plant. My first season was a celebration. We were feasting on fresh organic sprouts several nights a week, with plenty left over to proudly share with neighbours. I have been raving about them ever since. I only wish I had discovered this opportunity earlier.

Start your plants early. It normally takes 5 months for the sprouts to form, and they need to be developing when the cool weather arrives. Sow in December and you’ll be eating sprouts by May/June. A follow up sowing in January should land you a harvest in June/July. In the coldest parts of the country, you can also sow in November for an April/May harvest.

Protect your plants with pest exclusion netting right from the start to keep them protected from cabbage white butterfly. To get them through the hot weather early on, you may also need to cover them with 30 per cent shadecloth. 

Stake plants to keep them upright as they grow rather tall and top-heavy. 

For your first crop, try a reliable variety such as Dagan.

For more growing tips and ideas subscribe to ABC Organic Gardener magazine and get it delivered to your door.

This article first appeared in our Winter 2024 issue (OG 150).