Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts are the most common and widely adapted Brussel Sprout variety for the home garden.
Compact plants grow up to 24" tall and produce large yields of tender, right heads that average 1.5" in diameter.
Average time to maturity: 90 days
Detailed planting instructions:
Direct seed about 4 months before expected fall frost. Plant seed 3 to 4 inches apart, ¼ to ½ inch deep in rows about 30 inches apart. Thin plants to about 18 inches apart.
Start transplants in late May and transplant in late June or early July. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
Plants have shallow root systems. Avoid even shallow cultivation. Mulch to protect roots, reduce weed competition and conserve moisture.
Use floating row covers to help protect from early insect infestations.
To help reduce disease, do not plant Brussels sprouts or other cole crops in the same location more than once every three or four years.
It takes some time for sprouts to mature, so you will begin to harvest them about twenty weeks after sowing. Sprout formation will begin at the base of the stalk; to encourage development of the upper sprouts for uniform maturity, pinch out the growing tip of the plant in late summer when bottom sprout is as big as an average thumb. Or, harvest sprouts individually from the bottom of the stalk when they are about 1-1.5" in diameter. Fall planted Brussels sprouts will become sweeter after a few light frosts.
Once harvested sprouts can be stored in three ways. Either, leave them on the stem and hang them somewhere cool and dark, a shed is ideal. This way they will keep for up to a month. Alternatively, pick the sprouts from the stem, and keep them in your fridge. This way they will last about a week. If you want to freeze them, simply remove any dead or discolored leaves, and using a sharp knife place an X in the base of each sprout. Blanch for a few minutes in boiling water, then plunge them into very cold water to cool. Stored in freezer bags they will keep for approximately six months.
Harvesting the seed is done carefully when 60-70% of the pods have turned brown and most of their inner seeds are light brown and firm.
Harvested seed stalks are cured for 1-2 weeks. Pods are then threshed with sticks and sifted by hand. Seed is brittle and should not be crushed when handled. Seed is dried in partial sun, then cleaned and stored.
Dried seeds can be safely stored for at least three years. Place seeds in jars, manila envelopes, cloth or mesh bags, plastic containers, or foil envelopes. Protect seed from sunlight.
Store seeds in a cool, dry location. Place the seeds in a refrigerator for long term storage. For short-term storage, keep the seeds in a cool, shady and dry place.