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Preparing for winter: Brussels sprouts are biennials and won't produce flowers until spring. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your crop is prepared to survive the winter. If temperatures usually remain above 28 degrees F, your plants should be fine outside through the winter. Otherwise, it may be best to bring inside and replant in spring.
Harvesting pods: Seed stalk will emerge from the plant in spring. Watch for seed pods to begin to turn brown and dry out. Harvest dry pods.
Drying pods: Bring harvested pods inside and allow to dry in a dry location for several weeks.
Harvest seeds: Once pods are dry, place inside a cloth bag. Considerable force is required to break open the pods. Some even recommend running in place on the bag to break open the pods and release the seeds.
Clean and Store: Separate the seeds from the chaff by pouring over a screen and winnowing with a fan on a very low setting. Store seeds in a cool and dry location. Properly stored Brussels sprouts seeds can be viable for up to 4 years.
Brussels sprouts do best in cold climates and temperature has a significant impact on seed production. Brussels sprouts should be planted such that the plant faces its coldest temperature when it has matured. Sow in early to mid-fall, so that maturity occurs in late fall and flowers bloom in early winter.
Brussels sprouts are insect pollinated biennials, meaning that growers interested in saving seed need to be conscious of isolation distances in order to preserve seed integrity. For instance, Brussels sprouts will easily cross with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. To preserve the integrity of your Brussels sprouts seeds separate broccoli from other members of Brassica oleracea (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, collards, kale) by at least 1000 meters.
Seeds should be taking from groupings of at least 10 plants, since Brussels sprouts are mostly self-infertile. A few sprout heads can be left on each plant after harvest, so that the same plants can yield both sprouts for eating and seeds.
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