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Historians believe that the ancient Romans first cultivated Brussels sprouts, but Belgium has the greatest claim on this tiny vegetable. As the name indicates, Brussels sprouts grew in great abundance around the city of Brussels. Since the 1900s, growers in California has produced most of the United States’ supply of Brussels sprouts. The Catskill variety comes from Arkport, New York, where seed expert Arthur White developed them in 1941.
Sowing: Since frost brings out the best flavor in brussels sprouts, plant them late in May or early in June for a fall crop. Start Catskill Brussels sprouts seeds by planting them 1/2″ deep in soil; when they grow to 6″ tall, transplant or thin them 2′ apart. Compress the soil around the seed and keep the ground moist. Compress the soil around the seed and keep the ground moist.
Growing: Mulch to preserve the moisture in the soil. Remove weeds carefully to avoid disturbing the plants. If heavy winds threaten the plant, provide a stake for support. As the leaves on the stem turn yellow, take them off so that the sprouts can freely develop. If aphids appear, eliminate them with a strong stream of water from a hose.
Harvesting: About four months after transplanting, the first sprouts should be ready. Twist them off the stem from the bottom up; sprouts about 1″ in diameter are the most tender. To continue harvesting sprouts after frost, hang the entire plant upside down in a cool place; sprouts will continue to mature for a few more weeks. Catskill sprouts freeze very well.
Seed Saving: Seed heads will not develop until early spring, so overwintering the plant will be necessary. If the climate is cold, this means digging up the plant and storing it, stem and all, in moist sand at a temperature of about 40 degrees F. Replant 3-4 weeks before the last spring frost. Allow the sprouts left on the plant to flower, mature, and fully dry on the stem. The seed heads will open as soon as they are dry and brown, so watch them closely in order to save the seed before it falls to the ground. Store Catskill Brussels sprouts seeds in a cool, dry place for up to five years.
Latin Name: Brassica oleracea
Type: Open Pollinated, Heirloom, Cool Season
USDA Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Seeds per Ounce: 8,000
Planting Method: From Transplant
Sunlight: Full Sun
Height: 24 Inches
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