We've progressed beyond bagging our Brussels sprouts from the bin at the local chain grocery store. We've been to the local farmers market. We know Brussels sprouts grow on a long stalk. And that's what we expected when we planted them last November.
When we made the switch to our winter garden, the Google Almanac assured us that Brussels sprouts would be successful in our USDA Growing Zone 8B. We bought several plants from the nursery with our cauliflower, planted, let the generous rains soak our garden and waited for the harvest.
And waited. And waited. And waited. The plants grew. In fact, they grew into lovely giant versions of Brussels sprouts. But no sign of the knobby green nuggets on a great long stalk that we anticipated. The tips of the plants finally started to tassel as if the plant was starting to bolt. We were wondering if we should take them out when we take out the cauliflower and just call it a failure.
Then I discovered them, hiding under the large cabbage-ish leaves like green snails, clinging to a fat stem that was hardly the naked arch of bounty we'd seen in the farmer's market. When we trimmed the leaves off, it began to look much more like the stalks of Brussels sprouts you see at the market.
Apparently, going to the farmers market does not a farmer make.
We're still in a quandary about harvesting. They are a little tough to just twist off the stock and they seem to ripen from the bottom up. We won't be getting out the machete to hack the stem from the ground.
But when we finally break the ignorance or risk barrier, we're going to be wallowing in Brussels sprouts. Stay tuned for some "Best of Brussels sprouts" recipes.