This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The Sprouts, which are a carefully developed abnormality of the Cabbage, are now one of our principal winter vegetables, grown in great quantities all over the kingdom. A feature of the crop is that it does not require the land to be too rich. If it is, the stem grows lanky, the Sprouts become soft and inclined to be open. They are frequently attacked by Greenfly in late summer, which causes the outer leaves of the Sprouts to first turn yellow and then go rotten. In London, medium-sized, hard, dark-green sprouts are favoured: in the Midlands the taste runs to larger ones and is not so particular about their being a little ripe.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS AS SENT TO MARKET Each basket contains half a bushel.
Photos. W. J. Vasey.
Some growers make sowings in August or September in order to get early plants for the spring planting, some even going the length of using glass for the purpose. Sowings made, however, in February or March and planted out on the first opportunity in May will produce Sprouts early enough for most seasons, for few people would care to put sprouts on their menu while the weather is hot, and beans and cauliflowers are in full swing. Other growers sow the Brussels Sprouts in drills to thin out, and utilize the middle to get a crop of Lettuce or Spinach while the Sprouts are growing. There is a good deal to be said for this plan, because it gets the Sprouts in quite early enough, while in a dry summer it makes sure of one principal crop of winter greenstuff, and eases the anxiety the market gardener must always have in summer until he sees his winter crops well established.
Brussels Sprouts should have plenty of room, 3 ft. by 2 ft. 6 in. being a good distance on good land. For the London market the practice among growers in the neighbourhood of London is to send the Sprouts to market in half-bushel baskets, with the tops rounded over with Sprouts neatly placed side by side with the stalks under. The growers of Bedfordshire and Worcestershire send their Sprouts in hampers and pots without going to the trouble of topping. The cost of picking and topping a half-bushel of Sprouts is 3d.; the price, 1s. to 2s. 6d.; and the product of an acre about 200 half-bushels.
The "tops" are sometimes saleable in late winter, and make about 6d. per bushel; 150 bushels may be got off an acre. The stumps of the Brussels Sprouts, after the Sprouts are all gathered, make valuable food for stock, either sheep or cattle. [W. G. L].
Fig. 465.- Brussels Sprouts.