Grow this commercial favorite, known as Long Island Improved, from freshly harvested Brassica oleracea seeds. Long Island Improved is an heirloom Brussels Sprout variety that was first Introduced in the late 1800's to early 1900's. It produces high yields of miniature, cabbage like sprouts along it's tall, thick stems. Each plant will reach a mature height of up to 24 inches tall, producing Sprouts that will measure roughly 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
Brussels Sprout is categorized as an annual crop. Annuals such as Long Island Improved will grow quickly from freshly harvested seeds, producing their fruits / crops within the same season and will later die with the first killing frost. The plants can be allowed to bolt, or go to seed, if you plan on regrowing new plants the following season.
Brussels Sprout is a nutritious vegetable that can be added to all sorts of culinary dishes. They also carry a few health benefits as well and are known as one of the worlds most beneficial crops. They are loaded with all sorts of vitamins and minerals and can prevent some cancers. To learn more about the health benefits of Brussels Sprout, you can click here for an article at whfoods.com.
Sowing The Seed
Brussels Sprout is a cool weathered crop that can be started indoors, or directly outdoors as well. If started indoors, sow the seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost. Sow at a depth of 1/4" under topsoil, lightly covering the seeds. Transplant entire peat pots, or direct sow outdoors when the weather is warm and all danger of frost has passed.
As Explained prior, these plants require cooler temperatures and are best established in early Spring, or in the Autumn season. They require an area of full sunlight for at least 6 hours and temperatures of around 45F to 65F. The soil should be fertile and rich in organic matter, but it should also be well drained. To increase drainage, we recommend adding a light compost to areas containing hard, compact soil. Water the soil daily until germination has successfully occurred, watering regularly thereafter.
Germination & Growth
Brussels Sprout seeds typically take anywhere between 7 to 14 days to germinate, if the proper conditions are met. The plants will reach a mature height of 24 inches tall, displaying their sprouts along the tall, thick stems. Each plant can be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart from one another, in rows that are spaced about 30 to 36 inches apart. The plants will produce high yields of miniature, cabbage like sprouts that can be harvested in roughly 85 to 115 days.
Harvesting Brussels Sprout
Long Island Improved is known to produce high yields of crops in roughly 85 to 115 days. Simply wait until the sprouts are hard, bright green and at least 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Begin twisting them from the main stem. Enjoy as picked, or store them in the fridge. Be careful not to store them for too long however, since they will lose their delicious flavor in 2 days or so. The leaves can also be cooked and consumed as a collard leaf would.