Leave, or Not?

I’m afraid I may have planted our Brussels sprouts a little late this year. Though the plants are healthy, winter is fast approaching and they haven’t grown as much as I would like.

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Which leads me to a question: should I remove the leaves on the stalk, and if so when?

We’ve never removed the leaves to speed up growth of the sprouts. I’ve always allowed the sprouts to mature naturally, removing the lower leaves as I’ve harvested the lower spouts. (By the way, don’t throw away the leaves. Brussels sprouts leaves are delicious cooked greens.)

But I know that some folks do remove the leaves, insisting that doing so helps channel all the plant’s energy into making better sprouts. I seem to recall reading that if you intend to harvest the entire stalk at once it’s best to remove the leaves, but that if you intend to harvest the sprouts as they mature from the bottom up, then it’s best to leave them on.

I know there are some first-rate cool weather gardeners who read this blog, so I’m posing the question to y’all: Leave the leaves or take ’em off?

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