Modern chefs have transformed this historically disliked vegetable into a much-sought-after food that is delicious deep fried, steamed, or roasted. Give them plenty of water, nutrients, and time to grow before they begin forming sprouts. Covering plants with row covers after sowing will help exclude pests. You can leave plants in the garden into the winter, as they are hardy to 10°F. Frost actually improves the flavor and the plants resemble little palm trees when dusted with snow.
Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera
Days to Maturity: 85–110 days
Hardiness: Frost-tolerant biennial; will tolerate temperatures to about 10?F.
Plant Dimensions: 20"–24" tall
Variety Information: 1"–1½", blue-green orbs that look like tiny cabbage heads, and grow tightly and densely against the main trunk of the plant. The cluster of leaves at the top of the plant give it a palm-tree-like look. 'Long Island Improved' was developed in the 1890s, quickly becoming the garden standard, and continues to be a dependable heirloom for home gardeners.