Brussels Sprout 'Red Rubine'
First released in the 1940s, this open-pollinated unusual variety of Brussels sprout is rarely offered in shops and supermarkets, but is incredibly popular with gardeners and gourmets. The purple leaves are higher in antioxidants and less attractive to pests, but have a lovely flavour, especially when grown over the cooler months.
Brussels sprouts are a long season crop, but well worth the effort. Most varieties will require around 5 months before harvest. Preferring a slightly alkaline soil, like other members of the cabbage family, prepare the ground with plenty of well rotted manure or compost. In windy gardens the plants will need to be staked as they do become top heavy. Loosely formed sprouts are a sign of too much nitrogen. Best in frosty areas, grow through summer for autumn and winter harvests. The spring flowering shoots can be eaten like broccoli and its top knot of leaves served as a mini cabbage. Prone to attack by white cabbage butterfly, control with Dipel or netting.