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Avonnow
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Brussel sprouts

Now please don't chuckle , but I love brussel sprouts and decide to plant some this fall. Had no idea what to expect, I did some by seed, some were plants from local nursery. I was so surprised on how they grow. I have never ever seen a plant or picture of a plant till this fall. If mine grow i will be thrilled to death just to see a plant like that up close. My question - any advice or thoughts on what to expect. How cold do they like it, and when do you know it's time to pick them (not that mine are there) all the pics show the plants loaded, do you have to wait. Thanks in advance! :wink:
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Bobberman
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Depending on the type 80 to 100 days! You can pick them when you see a quarter size ball under a leaf! They will start at the bottom leave where you pick the fist ones and will mature from bottom to top gradually! Cold weather does not hurt them much. and they will thrive in it! They can get over 3 feet tall! Boiled with some buter excellent!
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TWC015
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They do take a long time to mature. When I start them from seed, it usually takes about 4 months to harvest the first sprouts.

Once they get to be about a foot tall, you can usually see sprouts beginning to form on the lower part of the plant. They form right above where the leaf is attached to the plant. I pick them when they have a diameter about the size of a nickel. I prefer smaller sprouts. They will get huge if you don't pick them.

Since you are in Florida, they will probably grow the whole winter without much slowing down. Mine slow down when the highs stay in the 40s; they seem to do best when the daytime high is between 55F and 75F. A frost or freeze will not harm them. They survive winter here and it gets to around 10F each year. They should give you sprouts until about February or March of next year, and then they will flower since they are biennials.

gumbo2176
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Sherry, I did this last year with sprouts. I picked a few from the bottom of the plant, like others have mentioned for eating. For the most part I let the plant just grow and left the sprouts on the stem unless they started getting loose leaves instead of them being tight and in a ball. When I picked them I used the larger ones steamed with just a bit of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. I'm not a butter person, but that is how many people eat them.

The smaller upper sprouts were ideal for pickling in a Bread & Butter brine. They came out excellent and I wound up putting up several pints of them. I like them so much that way that I'll definitely do the same this year.

This is the only plant in my garden that I have exclusively to myself. I am the only one in the family that loves them. Works for me!! :) :)

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Avonnow
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Thanks

Great I have a chance of doing this, sometimes you look at a plant and think - no way that will ever grow for me. I must have gotten them in the ground at the right time, they all seem to be thriving. At least two of us like them here (kids just stare & wince) if I get enough - I may get with you Gumbo about the brine thing, sounds interesting. We love them, and sometimes believe it or not we have a hard time finding them,even when in season, so hopefully they work. I appreiate the info on picking them, as I was worried about when you knew they were ripe. I think I would prefer them smaller. They seem when bought at the store to be better when they are smaller. One other thing - how much space width wise do they need, I see they are tall, but hard to gauge the width since they only seem wide at the top. :D
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gumbo2176
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I plant mine 18 inches apart in my rows and by the time they are producing well, their leaves are touching the adjacent plants. I only have them in 1 row, but if planting them in several rows, I'd make the rows no less than 30 inches apart. Right now, my rows are about 36 inches apart from center to center.

Bobberman
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Being that they thrive after all the other pl;ants are gone in the fall you have fresh greens. I agree steaming them brings out the excellent tenderness and the olive oil and salt or even garlic salt gives them a special flavor! The smaller more compact have no bitterness like the store bought ones! Cut them in half and chow down! Excellent for your health also!
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gardenvt
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Brussel sprouts are amazing when roasted. Just take the leaves apart, a bit of EVOO (roasted walnut oil if you have it), a bit of roasted garlic, S&P to taste and cook them for about 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

I like to serve them with pasta and roasted walnuts.

We've only had a few from the garden as they are still going strong. I am counting on them hanging in there for awhile along with the leeks.

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Avonnow
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Thanks for receipe

Hey GardenVT - I saw on the Food NEtwork or travel channel a restaurant up north who did that roast them, I need to try that for something different. They were extremely popular at this restaurant and basically put this restaurant on the map. Thanks I will keep that and try it.
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carolyn137
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TWC015 wrote:They do take a long time to mature. When I start them from seed, it usually takes about 4 months to harvest the first sprouts.

Once they get to be about a foot tall, you can usually see sprouts beginning to form on the lower part of the plant. They form right above where the leaf is attached to the plant. I pick them when they have a diameter about the size of a nickel. I prefer smaller sprouts. They will get huge if you don't pick them.

Since you are in Florida, they will probably grow the whole winter without much slowing down. Mine slow down when the highs stay in the 40s; they seem to do best when the daytime high is between 55F and 75F. A frost or freeze will not harm them. They survive winter here and it gets to around 10F each year. They should give you sprouts until about February or March of next year, and then they will flower since they are biennials.
Not only will a frost or freeze not harm them but it actually makes them taste better b'c it helps to convert the starch to sugar.

I've seen quite a few folks who do grow them in the south but I don't think they develope the taste they should.

If you want to hasten ripening just top them off when the lower axils have some fully formed sprouts.

I love B Sprouts, yes I do, and as someone above said, just cook them until tender and butter, salt and pepper is all you need.

Comw Fall I would dig up my plants and stack them like firewood in a protected area and just take off the sprouts I needed, but it has to be COLD in that protected area or like cabbage and other cucurbits they'll start rotting and stink. :(

Carolyn

ruggr10
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I loooooove brussel sprouts and have finally convinced my wife that she likes them too... that has not worked for my 2 year old, yet...

My issue is growing them just hasn't worked for me yet. I've tried 2 years in a row. I'm going to try a different type next year. Do you all start them indoors or direct sow? I've tried starting them indoors and transplanted them but they have not done well enough to produce sprouts.

gumbo2176
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ruggr10 wrote:I loooooove brussel sprouts and have finally convinced my wife that she likes them too... that has not worked for my 2 year old, yet...

My issue is growing them just hasn't worked for me yet. I've tried 2 years in a row. I'm going to try a different type next year. Do you all start them indoors or direct sow? I've tried starting them indoors and transplanted them but they have not done well enough to produce sprouts.

Actually, I'll just buy the ones already started in 6 packs from the local nursery that are 3-4 inches tall. The plants I now have are about 2 ft. tall and have sprouts developing along the stems. I'll plant more this weekend for an extended harvest into the early spring. We have such mild winters here in New Orleans that I can grow these all winter long from transplants if I want.

gardenvt
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Avon, I got my recipe from America's Test Kitchen (public television) about 3 years ago. I also use it for cauliflower.

Our Brussels Sprouts have grown so much the past few weeks. It has been a rather warm November here in Vermont with only a few cold nights. It looks like we will have some yummy sprouts for T-Day.

Father's Daughter
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I started some from seed, but realized I started them way too late. Plus I had really poor germination from the seeds I bought, and only one plant actually survived. It's only about a foot tall and just starting to form little buds. I know that cooler temps are good for the flavor of the sprouts, but do I have any chance of the plant surviving long enough to develop full sprouts after the temps really drop?

Next year I'm going with a different variety, and I now know they need a heck of a lot more time!

carolyn137
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Father's Daughter wrote:I started some from seed, but realized I started them way too late. Plus I had really poor germination from the seeds I bought, and only one plant actually survived. It's only about a foot tall and just starting to form little buds. I know that cooler temps are good for the flavor of the sprouts, but do I have any chance of the plant surviving long enough to develop full sprouts after the temps really drop?

Next year I'm going with a different variety, and I now know they need a heck of a lot more time!
No, I don't think they have a chance to form sprouts this late in the season when I see where you live and garden.

As I think I said above, I direct seed all my cole crops, including B Sprouts, in a separate small bed outside and do that about the first of May in my zone 5 area.

Then I transplant them to their final place about the 1st to 2nd week of June.

You don't want seedlings of cole crops to be more than about 5 weeks old when you move them to their final place. It takes all summer for them to grow and make sprouts and when Fall nears I top the plants to encourage sprout formation in the higher axils of the plant.

I can't speak to your seed germination problems but for me at least, all of the cabbage and cauliflower and broccoli and B Sprout seeds have always germinated at a very high rate, and as I said, that's outside. But the seedlings are also frost tolerant so no problems with late frosts.

Carolyn

Father's Daughter
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Thanks Carolyn. I figured my chances for harvesting any were slim to none. The seeds were from an SSE seed rack at a local nursery, and the brocolli seeds I also bought and started at the same time did just fine. I'll probably harvest the last of the smaller side heads this week. Now that I know how long brussel sprouts really take, I'll make sure I get them going a lot earlier next year. If I'm successful, they will be included in next year's thanksgiving menu!

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