Brassica oleracea, Gemmifera group
Brussels sprout plants take up a fair amount of space, but the reward is a bountiful harvest of tasty sprouts. The sprouts, which look like mini cabbages, form along the 2- to 3-foot stems under umbrella-like foliage, and need up to 100 days to mature.
To start your Brussels sprout plants from seeds (indoors or out), sow seeds 1/2 inch deep. When seedlings are 5 to 7 inches tall, space or thin them to 2 feet apart. Set transplants deeper than they grew originally, with the lowest leaves just above the soil. Firm the ground around the plants, and water well.
Growing guidelines: Mulch to retain soil moisture, and hand pull any weeds to avoid damaging the shallow roots of the sprout plants. Foliar feed lightly once or twice a month with compost tea or seaweed extract. Stake in areas with strong winds. The leaves will turn yellow as sprouts mature; remove these leaves as they fade to give sprouts room to develop.
Harvesting: Small sprouts (about 1-inch diameter) are the most tender. Harvest them as they mature from the bottom of the stalk upward. Remove sprouts by twisting them from the stem. Pinching off the plant tops forces sprouts to mature faster. Just before a severe freeze, uproot the plants, remove any remaining leaves, and hang the "logs" upside down in a cool place for a few more weeks of harvesting.