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Kale Project

Page history last edited by Ruth 5 years, 2 months ago

Upper Valley Seed Savers

Kale Project Description



Date/Season:  2014/2015 growing seasons


Crop/Species:  Kale (Brassica oleracea)


Variety:  Red Russian


Project Type:  Kale seed production


Project Description/Goals: The objective of the project is to master growing kale seed and to establish reliable methods for overwintering the parent plants in sufficient number for quality seed production.


Project Participant: Sylvia Davatz


Contact Info:  Phone number:  436-3262   Email:  sdav@valley.net


Project Site Description: The garden is south-facing at about 800’ elevation. The soil is basically sandy loam, enriched with compost and organic amendments and has average to above average fertility.


Volunteer/Resource Needs:  help potentially needed cleaning seed


Project Report: On July 10, 2014, I started Red Russian kale in 8 9-packs in the greenhouse using my own seed from 1998.. The seeds germinated in three days. By November 3rd, there were 56 plants in the lower garden and 16 in the upper garden. At some point I moved plants into the greenhouse as a back-up, but failed to record how many and on what date. The remaining plants in the garden were heavily mulched with leaves and covered with row cover. The beginning of the winter was very mild, meaning the ground did not freeze until late. This gave voles access to the plants in the garden. Additionally, deer pawed through the rowcover and many of the plants were chewed to the stem. Still, a large number of them survived, or at least their roots did. To be sure of getting seed, I moved the plants from the greenhouse to the garden as soon as the weather was warm enough. These flowered and set seed earlier than the plants that had remained in the garden, but there was still overlap in the flowering times. Overall, there were enough plants that produced mature seed for an adequate parent population. My conclusion is that it is possible to overwinter plants of this variety in the garden even in a very cold winter, if they can be protected from animals. We could consider cutting the tops of the plants back since it seems most important that the roots survive. Since overwintering the plants in the garden helps select for cold-hardiness, we might want to experiment with more techniques for doing this.

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