Brassica oleracea var
Brussels sprouts are a hardy, slow-growing, long-season vegetable and belong to the cabbage family. Its stem is from a foot to four feet in height, and from an inch and a half to upwards of two inches in diameter. It produces numerous small auxiliary heads, or sprouts, which are arranged somewhat in a spiral manner, and which are often so closely set together as entirely to cover the sides of the stem. The small heads are firm and compact like little cabbages. A small head, resembling a small cabbage, surounds the stem of the plant, and maintains a circulation of sap to the extremity. Most of the original side-leaves drop off as these small buds, or heads, enlarge.
Sowing and Cultivation.—the plant is always raised from seeds, which, in size, form, or color, are almost undistinguishable from the seeds of the Common Cabbage. They should be sown either in hot-beds in March or April, or in the open ground in April or May. When three or four inches high, transplant two feet apart in each direction. For summer harvest, you must plant transplants of an early, heat-resistant variety in very early spring. Sprouts maturing in hot weather or under dry conditions are more likely to develop bitterness.
Brussels sprouts are grown much like the related cole crops, cabbage and broccoli. Apply a fine compost when the plants are 12 inches tall and water to keep the crop growing through the heat of summer. Without ample watering the crop may die. Insect control is also very important at this stage to keep the plants growing. Cultivate shallowly around the plants to prevent root damage.
Jade Cross Brussels Sprouts– (90-120 Days) Vigorous, compact plant loads up 11 1/2 in. round, tight, dark-green sprouts. Available from 2bseeds.com
Churchill F1 Brussels Sprouts– (90 Days) this is the earliest variety for Brussels sprouts. Very flavorful, those are medium green with smooth and large. Available from 2bseeds.com
Royal Marvel Hybrid Brussels Sprouts– (90 Days) Dark green 1-in. sprouts are easy to harvest and resistant to tip burn. Superior taste and an excellent texture. Available from gurneys.com
Use.—the small heads are boiled and served in the same manner you would serve cabbages. They are also often used in the form of the cauliflower, boiled until soft, then drained, and afterwards stewed with milk, cream, or butter.