About Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts: 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 this vegetable; Long Island Improved in particular is a favorite variety of commercial growers.
Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts Germination: Since frost brings out the best flavor in brussels sprouts, plant them late in May or early in June for a fall crop. Start the 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.
Growing Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts Seeds: 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 Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts: 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. Long Island Improved sprouts freeze quite well.
Saving Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts Seeds: 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 the seed in a cool, dry place for up to five years.
Detailed Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts Info: Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera. Annual. 90 days. 8,000 seeds per oz. 36-48" height. 24-30" spacing. This semi-dwarf variety produces 50-100 dark green sprouts about 1-2" in diameter.