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Winter Gardening: Brussels Sprouts

Another cold season crop we like to over winter at our farm is Brussels sprouts. Brussel sprouts are a member of the cabbage family that are very hearty and will withstand frosty temperatures in the fall and winter months. Their tiny cabbage shaped head forms along the stem of each leaf base when mature.

Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your Brussels sprouts this winter:

  1. Planting:
    • Before planting in these plots we will add organic matter to the soil also adding mulch around the plants which will keep the roots cool and allow them to grow steadily. Although Brussels sprouts look tall and firm, their root system is shallow and close to the surface that can cause the plant to lean, so planting in firm rich soil is important.
  2. Nurturing:
    • Brussels sprouts need to establish themselves ten to twelve weeks prior to the first frost, so you need to monitor the moisture level and fertilize monthly with an organic fertilizer
  3. Harvesting:
    • Brussel sprouts will take all season to mature for late fall or early winter harvest. Harvesting Brussels sprouts can start when the head is around 1” in diameter around, usually around mid-October for un in Southern Ontario.
    • If you prefer to harvest over a shorter period, you can harvest prior to the first frost by cutting the leafy top knot of the plant and cook it like cabbage. However, if you’d like to sweeten the taste, wait to harvest after the Brussels sprouts have been exposed to some frost by picking the largest from the bottom to the top.

We encourage you to extend the season with a mini polytunnel in mid to late October to enjoy into the early winter months. More on mini polytunnels and cold frame vessels next time!

We think Brussels sprouts have been given a bad rap, and really encourage you to give them a shot if they’re not already on your favourite veggies list. Here’s a recipe that we’re sure will change your mind.

Not Your Grandma’s Brussel Sprouts

Balsamic Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

4 servings


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/8 t. black pepper
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and diced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts to the balsamic mixture and toss them until they are completely coated.
  4. Pour the Brussels sprouts out on to the baking sheet in a single layer and place them on the middle rack of the oven.
  5. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Pour the Brussels sprouts into a serving dish and toss them together with the cooked, diced bacon.