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BBC's Gardeners' World presenter Monty Don has shaped our gardens across the calendar, but his latest tip is specific to one special day of the year: Christmas. As we sit on the fringe of the big day, thoughts may be turning to the dinner preparations – but according to Monty, the secret to a certain festive staple begins long before the 25th.
With Christmas very much on our minds at present, there is perhaps no greater time to remind yourself how to grow Brussels sprouts with advice from the very best. In his blog (opens in new tab), Monty shares what you need to know for a tasty crop next year.
Monty Don's brussels sprouts tips
The horticultural guru shares that he grows Brussels sprouts in the same way as the rest of his winter brassicas. However, the process behind it begins in spring.
'I sow my seeds into plugs in March or April, potting the emerging seedlings on into three-inch pots and then planting them into their final position in June or July,' Monty says. 'As part of the vegetable crop rotation, they are ideal for following on after broad beans or early peas, but any well-manured soil will do.'
The wider you space the plants in the soil, the bigger your sprouts will grow, but Monty recommends leaving around 2-3ft between each plant. While this may sound like a generous gap, Monty explains that the extra space is useful for salad crops while the sprouts grow.
'Keep the growing plants well-watered and stake them before they start to flop under their own weight,' he adds.
But what is the surprising secret to a flavourful crop? The cold. According to Monty Don's winter garden ideas, a chilly climate (down to around 14˚F/-10˚C ) emphasizes the Brussels sprouts flavor – and the best pickings come after the first hard frosts.
However, if the weather is significantly colder, he suggests cutting the whole stem and the leaves before hanging it up in a 'cool, dark place' where it will survive for around one month.
Monty's kitchen garden ideas will bless your dining table over the holidays, but pre-planning is key. Because, whether you love them or loathe them, they're an eternal part of the season. You can shop for the best deals below.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Gardeningetc, Livingetc, and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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