Love them or hate them, no winter vegetable patch is complete without brussels sprouts. They are big plants that need lots of attention, but they will reward you well.
When to plant: Spring.
At their best: Winter.
Time to complete: 30 minutes for sowing; 3 hours for planting out.
You will need: Brussels sprout seed, seed trays, soil mix, cage, mesh.
Sow in seed trays and add manure to your beds at the same time. Plant out the seedlings about four weeks later, at least 3 ft (1 m) apart. Cover plants with a fine mesh to keep out cabbage white butterflies, which lay their eggs on the foliage, as well as pigeons.
Crop care and harvest
Keep plants well-watered until established, and remove withered leaves, which may carry diseases. As they grow, draw up soil around the stems to give them extra stability. Flavor is at its best after a good, hard frost. Harvest sprouts as you need them, picking from the base of the stalk and moving up. After picking all of the sprouts, chop off the top leaves and cook as you would greens.