It’s hard to believe it’s already time to start planning for the fall and winter garden! We just brought in our first ripe tomato (of the extra-early variety Zarnitsa), and the early corn is just showing its first silks, but indeed it’s time to get some of the slow-maturing crops for this fall underway. Brussels sprouts take about three months to maturity from transplanting and about a month to get to transplant size. So, if we want the plants to be ready for their first harvest around the time of the first frosts–when we lose all our glorious tomatoes and peppers–now’s the time to start the seeds.
Brussels sprouts are an ideal plant for the fall and winter vegetable garden. They’re cold-hardy to O°F and can be harvested over an extended period as long as you remove the leaf at the base of each sprout when it gets to be 3/8-1/2″ in diameter. Their flavor is also enhanced by frost, so they’re a great vegetable to be eating all winter long.
This year I’m growing Catskill (Long Island Improved), from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. There are only a couple of us in the family who like eating Brussels sprouts, so I was only planning to grow three plants. But the batch of potting soil I mixed up (recipe here) filled five 4″ pots, so I decided to put seeds in them all. It’s always good to have food to give away.
It feels funny to dream in June about the fresh veggies we’ll have in the winter, but when the cold starts closing in, we’ll be very glad we did!