It’s that time of year when our late summer produce in the garden is just about done and the mid to late fall crops are arriving. Zucchini has been replaced by butternut and delicata squash, both of which can be deliciously roasted. You also have thicker greens like collards and daikon radish as well as of course one of my favorites – Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts are actually quite easy to grow but take an enormously long time. From start to finish some varieties can take nearly 4 months. This means if you plant them in early summer, an October harvest is possible. Like many brassicas these crops want to be harvested when temperatures are cool. The starches inside brussels sprouts undergo a change to sugar when the weather turns cold. These sugars act as a type of antifreeze protecting the plant even as the leaves are falling. In turn the sugar gives these vegetables a sweeter taste and it’s one of the reasons why many chefs prefer to use them this time of the year.
You can roast them on your own, use them in soups and even grill them. I enjoy mixing roasted brussels sprouts with my eggs in the morning for a unique way to get my greens. If you’re interested in growing them on your own for next year they prefer full sun and well drained soil with lots of organic nutrients. But, don’t pick them too early because you’ll want the fall chill to sweeten them up.