Brussels Sprout Problems: What To Do For Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads

Brussels Sprout Problems: What To Do For Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads

By: Heather Rhoades

Even under the best conditions, growing Brussels sprouts is a tricky challenge for a gardener. Because the time needed to grow Brussels sprouts is so long and the temperatures needed for proper growth are so narrow, there are often problems with growing Brussels sprouts correctly. One of these issues is when the plant has loose leafed, poorly formed heads. This problem can be addressed with proper Brussels sprouts care.

What Causes Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads?

Loose leafed, poorly formed heads is directly related to when the heads form. If the heads form in the appropriate weather, which is cool weather, the heads will be firm. If the heads form in weather that is too warm, the plant will produce loose leafed, poorly formed heads.

Brussels Sprouts Care to Prevent Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads

Since this issue is related to warm weather, if possible try to plant your Brussels sprouts earlier. The use of a cold frame or hoop house can help in areas that are prone to late frosts.

If planting earlier is not an option, you may want to switch the kind of Brussels sprouts. Grow Brussels sprouts with a shorter maturity time. These varieties mature weeks ahead of normal Brussels sprouts and will develop heads during a cooler time in the season.

Making sure that the plant has plenty of nutrients can also help the plant fight producing loose leafed, poorly formed heads in warm weather. Work in fertilizer or manure into the soil you plan on planting your Brussels sprouts in. You can also trim the top of the plant once it reaches 2-3 feet (60-90 cm.) tall. This will help it redirect energy back into the heads.

With a little bit of change to your Brussels sprouts care, growing Brussels sprouts that do not have loose leafed, poorly formed heads will be possible.

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What to Do About Flowers on Broccoli Sprouts?

Broccoli is one of America’s favorite vegetables. Broccoli consumption in the U.S. surpasses that of other vegetables of the same brassica family, such as cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Broccoli is a popular plant in home gardens. It grows easily from seed for those who like to start their own seeds early, and it is also available in garden centers as transplants.

Some gardeners are plagued with less than adequate growing conditions, resulting in broccoli that rushes into flowering. Drought and heat can be major contributors to early flowering. Correct the conditions when possible, and learn to use the flowers.

  • Broccoli is one of America’s favorite vegetables.
  • Some gardeners are plagued with less than adequate growing conditions, resulting in broccoli that rushes into flowering.

How to Clean Brussel Sprouts

How to Clean Brussel Sprouts

It took me a long time to learn to like Brussel sprouts. Memories of over-cooked, limp spouts linger in my head. But they don’t have to be that way. Cooked right, Brussels sprouts make a great addition to so many meals. I love to pan roast them so they get nice and caramelized. With a bit of butter, salt and pepper, they are great on there own, but can also be tossed with a bunch of other ingreidents. But before you cook them, you have to clean them. Fortunately cleaning a Brussel sprout is not all that hard.


  • Look for Brussel sprouts that have tight heads avoid those with loose leaves
  • They should be firm without any soft spots
  • Avoid Brussel sprouts with surface gashes or significant blemishes


  • To clean your Brussel sprout, rinse them off in cold water to remove any dust or dirt
  • Using a small knife, take off the tip of the stem and discard it
  • Remove any of the outer leaves that do have blemishes don’t worry if a few more just happen to fall off
  • Place the cut stem on your cutting board and slice the Brussel sprout in half from top to bottom
  • The route end should still hold the most of the outer leaves together
  • Depending on the size, you may want to cut them in half again, so that you get bit size pieces

Now you should be good to go for whatever cooking method you want to use. Hope you enjoy them sprouts!!

Damage Control for Brussels Sprouts

Luckily, low aphid populations do not typically result in plant damage. However, if a large aphid population has been feeding on your Brussels sprouts, it can cause the wilting and yellowing of leaves, and possibly even other damage (although it rarely kills the plant). Rather than using a harmful insecticide to kill off aphids, there are several natural ways you can both manage an aphid infestation and prevent it from happening in the first place.

If you’re already dealing with aphids and you want to control them naturally, try:

  • Spraying water. Sometimes, simply spraying water (using a high-pressure spray from a garden hose) on aphids works just fine, especially in small outbreaks.
  • Pruning infested leaves. Pinching or pruning off heavily infested leaves or other plant parts may effectively kill off the population if it’s small.
  • Using a water-soap solution. Dealing with a large or persistent group of aphids? Try mixing a teaspoon of dish soap into a 32-ounce spray bottle full of water spray the infected areas and rinse off.

Fermented Vegetables: A Better Alternative?

Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kim chi, sauerruben, and cortido are excellent alternatives for people with gut issues. First, the fermentation process “pre-digests” the vegetables and makes them easier to absorb. Second, fermented veggies contain probiotic microorganisms that help heal the gut.

Although sauerkraut and kim chi contain cabbage, which is high in insoluble fiber (and a FODMAP to boot), I’ve found that many patients with gut problems can tolerate it quite well. FODMAPs are sugars and sugar alcohols, and fermentation breaks down sugars. This is probably why fermented FODMAPs are better tolerated than non-fermented FODMAPs.

If you’re new to fermented vegetables, you have two options:

  1. Make them yourself. Check out this page for a great primer. It’s really quite easy, and cheap.
  2. You can buy them at a health food store. Make sure that it says “raw” on the jar, and they’re in the refrigerated section. The sauerkraut you can buy in the condiments section has been pasteurized and won’t have the same beneficial effect.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to health, and no two people should follow the exact same diet. Someone who’s experiencing more mild digestive issues might see a big difference after reducing the amount of vegetables they eat, while someone else with IBS, SIBO, and/or significant bloating might benefit from following a more restrictive approach, like a short-term, low-FODMAP diet.

But what’s the best way to determine which approach is right and support someone who’s trying to make major dietary changes and improve their health? I believe that a health coach, working together with a Functional Medicine practitioner, can offer the support needed to help clients alleviate their digestive discomfort and heal.

Health coaches are armed with knowledge. They understand how human motivation works, and they’re experts in the science behind behavior change. They are skilled at offering their clients the support they need to make changes—like adopting a low-FODMAP diet or implementing other treatment protocols from their doctor.

At the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program, we teach you how to offer the kind of support that helps clients reach their wellness goals. We also offer a solid background in Functional and ancestral health, so you understand the mechanisms behind a number of chronic illnesses and health conditions.

Learn more about what health coaches do from the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program.

The ADAPT Health Coach Training Program is an Approved Health and Wellness Coach Training & Education Program by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).

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I’ve been having an IBS flare up for four months now, aggravated greatly by chronic anxiety.
Ive been advised to keep a food diary and am trying to find the right food to prevent symptoms.
Obviously I have looked at FODMAP foods.
Ive found some foods that dont seem to aggravate my stomach but am finding my diet to be very limited, sticking to chicken, eggs. Rice, carrots and little else.
Tonight I decided to have a plate of just vegetables for dinner. All FODMAP friendly, so I thought it would be a safe meal.
I had squash, carrots, green beans and zucchini.
What a mistake! I’ve had awful cramps all evening.
Is it wrong to eat just vegetables, or too many, even though they’re supposedly the ‘safe’ ones?

Hi Chris – I love that you made the blasphemous assertion that vegetables can be deleterious to your health. I’ve been primal for over 6 years after suffering from IBS for the prior 20 years. I started regular 12-14 hour fasting a year-and-a-half ago, got down to my goal weight, eliminated most of the stomach-related problems and felt like I really had my health dialed in. But about 9 months ago I developed perioral dermatitis. It was pretty minor at first but started streading a few months ago. I went keto thinking it must have been due to too much sugar from honey and fruit. That helped at first but then the rash flared again. Then I went keto elimination for three weeks and dropped eggs/dairy/nuts. That helped at first but then the rash flared again. It seemed like everything I tried worked at first and then stopped. That made me think it must be behavioral, and I finally realized that every time I started something new, I was really careful about eating at first. Eventually, I would become comfortable with the new diet and start to lapse back into overconsuming food. In particular, I pinpointed big-ass salads (as per MDA) as the biggest culprit! Anyway, the solution for me ended up being cutting out the majority of the vegetables I normally eat and making sure to stay in ketosis to help prevent me from overeating in general. I now eat a total of about 3-4 grams of fiber per day and feel great. Perioral dermatitis (as well as all lingering gut-related pain/bloating) is finally gone.

hey, I also cut all veggie and went carnivore for 3 months, this worked for the gut pain and bloating, but caused other issues like poor BM’s which caused pain. Introduced 50grams of oats, (25grams of carbs) BM’s are now ideal, lot less pain, still sticking to mainly carnivore. If I eat a small portion of carrots/eggplant on two consecutive days, pain and bloat, so I revert back to meats/fish/eggs with a little oats – seems to be a happier place – cheers, we all have to sort out our own recipe, good health

For the past 10 years I have been undergoing a still undiagnosed and debilitating chronic pain syndrome. I’m currently mostly bedridden and on Wednesday, we will have a nurse coming to the home to collect blood samples for Grave’s disease, Addison’s disease, metabolic myopathies and a number of auto immune diseases that we had not yet tested for. I hope, yet recognize the unlikelihood, that one of those blood samples will test positive and I might have the chance to live a life that is not predominately sequestered to the bed. The pain has become so intense that I am unable to leave our one room studio apartment and can barely stand for five minutes. I have recently realized that I am undergoing severe muscle atrophy, either as a complication of this undiagnosed pain, or a later stage of whatever this disease may be. I sadly admit that I drink alcohol every night along with Benadryl and prescription sleeping aids because of my desperation to pass out from a days worth of unrelenting and maddening pain. I take Kratom during the day to tolerate 1 to 2 hours of work because of how intensely important it still is to me and I also take it during the many moments at night when the pain wakes me up and I cannot sleep without it. Sadly, the government has been attempting (under the thinly veiled influence of Big Pharma) to turn this herb into a schedule 1 illegal drug. Should that happen, I will have to utilize alcohol as my prominent pain relief, which would most likely end in organ failure, cancer or throat abscess turning into pneumonia that doctors say will also most likely kill me. Ignoring the current manipulation major news networks are attempting regarding this herb, it is the safest pain treatment I can use. The only downside I have discovered from taking Kratom is intense constipation. In fact, when this herb was in animal trials, the scientists agree that the mice that died died from constipation (though, they were given about 100 times the dose). I only bring this up because (and trust me, I am NOT a fan of fruits and vegetables), I was having large amounts of them, coupled with a lot of water (which I also am not a big fan of), daily MiraLAX and stool softeners just to get to go to the bathroom at all. I was actually surprised at the writer’s admonishment of brussels sprouts because they have a high percentage of soluble fiber. I was eating large amounts of them along with plums, also high in soluble fiber, and I was able to go to the bathroom by doing this. I know that no one can live without protein, so I ate chicken, but small amounts of it because animal protein is binding. Unfortunately, I ate brussels sprouts and plums for years (remember, I’m not a big fan of fruits or vegetables) and I gained such a strong aversion to them that their smell alone made me nauseous. I switched plums to oranges because they are equal in soluble fiber percentage, but the best I could find for a vegetable swap was broccoli (yet another vegetable he admonishes even though it is 40% soluble fiber) and, other than brussels sprouts, that was the highest percentage I could find. I was still surviving, being able to go to the bathroom, until I realized the muscle atrophy (the constant pain is so intense that I usually don’t notice anything else). It took for my wedding ring to slip right off my finger even though it was quite snug when it was first placed on my finger for me to notice it. To give you a sense of just how bad the atrophy is, I am barely above 90 pounds. Because my pain syndrome makes even the slightest exercise intolerable, I’m trying to fight the atrophy with diet, which means increasing the protein. But, once I did that, I couldn’t go to the bathroom anymore. I had to lower the chicken and try to find a plant-based protein that would hopefully not constipate me. I added cabbage (which is 40% soluble fiber, so I don’t understand why that one is on the “no” list either) so that I could include flaxseed (30% soluble fiber) and kidney beans (50% soluble fiber) to increase my protein intake in hopes to fight both the muscle atrophy and the constipation. I recognize that, according to this article, I’m consuming too much fiber, but I am doing my best to try to find foods with the highest percentage of soluble fiber verses insoluble fiber. I recognize that it makes my stomach bloated and uncomfortable, but my stomach pain versus my muscle pain is comparative to getting a leg cramp versus getting the leg sawed off. So, essentially, all I really care about is making the stool soft enough so that I can pass it rather than end up in the emergency room every few weeks. This is me, 33 years old and just trying to do my best to survive. If anyone has any other ideas for constipation relief, I would be grateful (I’m already eating Chia seeds by the way). Ideally, if constipation wasn’t an issue, I would be able to exclusively use the herb for pain relief. Trust me, you don’t need to tell me how incredibly harmful the other stuff is.

You really need to be tested for D deficiency and other nutrient deficiencies on top of ruling out disease. How often do you go outdoors and get sun on skin? I would also point out that many veggies and fruits can be high in oxolates and phytates which bind to minerals like calcium in the gut. It’s not just about soluble or insoluble fiber and for that reason I would seriously consider sending a snip if your hair for testing or getting food intolerance tests done if all your current list of tests come back negative because something you are putting into your system or a mere deficiency could be cause of your issues. B12 deficiency coupled with folate, Vit c or D deficiency as well as EFA deficiency when not addressed could have someone in your situation and just eating foods without correcting those deficiencies will not resolve the issue. Only you can do this much. It is not in the average GPS interest to fix malnutrition based sickness. In fact it’s their bread and butter.

I seriously recommend reading “Fiber Menace.” You actually don’t need fiber as well. Many people have been able to cure what you’re describing by eating only from the animal kingdom. That’s right. No plants. Google “Zero Carb.”

Cauliflower Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Cauliflower Problems can be avoided: Summer-planted cauliflower for fall harvest will be both easier to grow and more flavorful–cauliflower prefers to leisurely mature in cool weather.

Cauliflower is grown much like cabbage, but requires more careful treatment. It is best to start cauliflower indoors where it can be protected from both cold and hot temperatures.

Spring-planted cauliflower is likely to face early cold and late heat which will make the effort difficult.

Summer-planted cauliflower for fall harvest will be both easier to grow and more flavorful–cauliflower prefers to leisurely mature in cool weather.

Start the fall cauliflower crop at the same time you plant late cabbage

For cauliflower growing tips see Cauliflower Growing Success Tips at the bottom of this post.

Common cauliflower growing problems with cures and controls:

• Seedlings fail to emerge from soil seedlings are eaten roots are tunneled. Cabbage maggot is a small gray-white, legless worm to ⅓-inch long adult is the cabbage root fly, looks like a housefly. Flies lay eggs in the soil near the seedling or plant. Maggots will tunnel into roots leaving brown scars some plants may be honeycombed with slimy tunnels. Exclude flies with floating row covers. Remove and dispose of damaged plants. Apply lime or wood ashes around the base of plants time planting to avoid insect growth cycle. Plant a bit later when the weather is drier. Companion plant with mint.

• Seeds rot or seedlings collapse with dark water-soaked stems as soon as they appear. Damping off is a fungus that lives in the soil, particularly where humidity is high. Do not plant in cold, moist soil. Make sure soil is well drained.

• Seedlings are eaten or cut off near soil level. Cutworms are gray grubs ½- to ¾-inch long that can be found curled under the soil. They chew stems, roots, and leaves. Place a 3-inch paper collar around the stem of the plant. Keep the garden free of weeds sprinkle wood ash around base of plants

• Young sprouts fail to grow or die back bluish-black spot on leaves and stems. Blackleg is a fungal disease which leaves sprouts girdled and rotting at soil level–“blacklegs.” Blackleg is spread by cutworms and cabbage maggots. Remove and destroy infected plants keep the garden free of plant debris. Add organic matter to planting bed make sure soil is well-drained. Rotate crops.

• Young plants flower. Cold will cause young plants to flower and produce seed without forming a head. Protect young plants from cold weather with floating row covers set transplants into the garden no sooner than 1 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. Don’t plant too early.

• Irregular yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces grayish powder or mold on undersides. Downy mildew is caused by a fungus. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris.

• Plant wilts roots are swollen and misshapen, roots rot. Clubroot is a soilborne fungal disease. Fungus interferes with water and nutrient uptake of roots. Keep the garden clean of plant debris and weeds that can harbor the fungus. Remove and destroy infected plants including soil around roots. Clubroot is found in acid soils add lime if soil pH below 7.2. Rotate crops for at least 2 years. Purchase transplants from disease-free supplier.

• Leaves become dull yellow, curl, and plant may die. Cabbage yellows is caused by the Fusarium soil fungus that infects plants usually where the soil is warm. The disease is spread by leafhoppers. Remove infected plants. Control leafhopper. Keep the garden free of weeds which can harbor disease. Keep soil evenly moist, but not wet. Rotate crops.

Plant resistant varieties: Early Snowball.

• Leaves yellow plant stunted small glistening white specks on roots. Root cyst nematode is a microscopic worm-like animal that lives in the film of water that coats soil particles. Rotate cabbage family crops. Solarize the soil with clear plastic in mid-summer.

• Plant stunted worms tunnel into roots. Plump grayish grub with brown head is the larva of the June beetle, a reddish brown or black hard-shelled beetle to 1 inch long. Wireworms are the soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles they look like wiry-jointed worms. Check soil before planting hand pick and destroy pests flood the soil if wireworms are present. Remove infested plants and surrounding soil. Keep the garden free of refuse that could shelter beetle eggs.

• Leaves are yellowish and slightly curled with small shiny specks. Aphids are tiny, oval, whitish-green, pink, or black pear-shaped insects that colonize on leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Remove with a blast of water. Use insecticidal soap solution. Mulch with aluminum foil to disorient aphids.

• Leaves have whitish or yellowish spots leaves are deformed plant wilts. Harlequin bugs or stink bugs. Harlequin bugs are black with bright red yellow or orange markings. They suck fluids from plant tissue causing white and yellow blotches. Handpick and destroy bugs and egg masses. Keep garden free of crop residue and weeds where bugs breed. Spray plants wit Sevin, pyrethrum and rotenone. Stink bugs are gray or green shield-shaped bugs about ¼-inch long they feed on fruits. Remove garden debris and weeds where bugs can overwinter. Hand-pick egg masses and bugs and destroy.

• Tiny shot-holes in leaves of seedlings. Flea beetles are tiny bronze or black beetles a sixteenth of an inch long. They eat small holes in the leaves of seedlings and small transplants. The larvae feed on roots of germinating plants. Spread diatomaceous earth around seedling. Handpick off plants, Cultivate often to disrupt life cycle. Keep garden clean. Spade garden soil deeply to destroy larvae in earl spring. Treat plants with Sevin, pyrethrum, or rotenone.

• Leaves partially eaten leaves webbed together eggs in rows on undersides of leaves. Cabbage webworms are green with a light stripe to ¾ inches long the webworm is the larvae of a brownish yellow moth with gray markings. Larvae spin light webs. Clip off and destroy webbed leaves. Destroy caterpillars. Keep garden weed free.

• Leaves are eaten and plants are partially defoliated. Blister beetles are slender gray or metallic black beetles to ¾-inch long they may have striped spots on their wings. Handpick beetles and destroy. Keep the garden weeds and debris. Cultivate in spring to kill larvae and interrupt the life cycle. Spray or dust with Sevin or use a pyrethrum or rotenone spray.

• Large holes in leaves leaves skeletonized. Cabbage loopers or armyworms. (1) Cabbage looper is a light green caterpillar with yellow stripes running down the back it loops as it walks. Keep garden clean of debris where adult brownish night-flying moth can lay eggs. Cover plants with spun polyester to exclude moths. Pick loppers off by hand. Use Bacillus thuringiensis. Dust with Sevin or rotenone. (2) Armyworms are dark green caterpillars the larvae of a mottled gray moth with a wingspan of 1½ inches. Armyworms mass and eat leaves, stems, and roots of many crops. Armyworms will live inside webs on leaves. Handpick caterpillars and destroy. Cultivate after harvest to expose the pupae. Use commercial traps with floral lures.

• Leaves are chewed and slimed. Snails and slugs eat leaves. Collect these pests at night. Set beer traps at soil level to attract and drown snails and slugs.

• Leaves chewed tunnels inside cabbage and cauliflower heads. Imported cabbage worm is a pale green caterpillar with yellow stripes to about 1¼ inches long the adult is a white moth with two or three black spots on the forewing. Use Bacillus thuringiensis. Destroy all remains and weeds after harvest. Companion plant with mint. Encourage the predatory trichogramma wasp.

• Leaves and head become pale green leaves wilt slimy rot develops. Bacterial soft rot is caused by Erwinia bacteria. Water-soaked spots appear on leaves and roots spots enlarge and turn dark and mushy. Black ooze develops in cracks in roots and stems. Rot can not be cured. Collect and burn infected plants Promote good drainage by adding aged compost and organic materials to planting beds. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops.

• Scorched leaf margins. Molybdenum deficiency in very acid soil. Test soil. Apply lime to produce a neutral soil, pH 6.0 to 7.0. Add about ½ ounce of ammonium molybdate per 500 square feet. Plant resistant varieties: Snowball X, Snowdrift, or Snowball Y.

• Curds gradually turn brown. Boron deficiency, often found in alkaline soils. Test soil. If deficient, add ½ ounce of borax per 24 square yards.

• Heads are loose and yellowish. Too much sun. Lift and tie leaves over the developing heads. Grow plants so that they mature in the cool, moist weather of autumn.

Cauliflower Growing Success Tips:

Planting. Grow cauliflower in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Plant cauliflower in full sun in cool regions where the weather is warm plant cauliflower in afternoon shade. Start cauliflower indoors and transplant it out into the garden about 4 to 5 weeks after seedlings emerge. Seedlings started indoors in early spring should be hardened off before they go into the garden set seedlings outside for a few hours each day for a week or so before transplanting them out.

Planting time. Cauliflower grows best in cool weather. Transplants can be set in the garden as early as 1 to 2 weeks before the average last frost date in spring set cauliflower in the garden when the soil temperature has warmed to 55°F and daytime temperatures average in the 50°s and 60°sF. If spring weather warms too quickly, spring planted cauliflower may bolt and flower prematurely. A summer-planted fall crop is a safer bet: sow cauliflower in the garden about 75 days before the average first frost date in autumn. Mulch summer-planted cauliflower to help keep the soil evenly moist and cool. Where winter temperatures stay mild, cauliflower can planted in autumn and grown through the winter for spring harvest.

Care. Keep cauliflower evenly moist do not let the soil dry out. Side dress cauliflower with compost tea every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season. Mulch cauliflower beds to keep the soil cool and conserve soil moisture.

Harvest. Cut cauliflower heads before they get too big, when they are about 6 inches across, slightly larger than a softball.

Watch the video: How to Fix a Leggy or Stretched Succulent! . Garden Answer