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Bush Cabbage

 
William James
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Does anyone know were to find Bush Cabbage seeds. Toby Hemmenway lodes their properties, but I can't seem to find seeds for it anywhere.
I'd love to have about 10 of these and solve the winter cabbage needs of me and those around me.

Thanks.
William
 
Charles Kelm
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Well, it might be Abelmoschus manihot
, but let's see what Toby has to say.
 
William James
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My copy of the book is being held hostage by a friend of mine. Sorry for the lack of info. But I know that even when I had the book, I looked around on the internet for this plant and came up with nothing.
W
 
Jesus Martinez
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Charles Kelm wrote:Well, it might be Abelmoschus manihot, but let's see what Toby has to say.


That's the closest thing I can find to bush cabbage also. But it doesn't look or sound to be anything like what we would call cabbage.
 
William James
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I thought that although it was a tall-ish bush it was still of the brassica family.
Anyone want to flip through gaia's garden? We could suspend discussion for a week or so until I get my book back.
W
 
Burra Maluca
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I did have quick flick through the index and through the 'lists' at the back and couldn't find it. Can you remember anything about the context?
 
William James
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Not having my book is starting to grate.

Anyway, I think I might have it: Tree Cabbage
http://www.realseeds.co.uk/cabbage.html


http://alanbishop.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=brassica&action=display&thread=1930

http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/perennial-vegetables-tree-cabbage-7321

There's also Sea Kale
http://blog.mylittlecityfoodgarden.com/2011/11/06/growing-sea-kale-a-perennial-cabbage-and-broccoli-in-one/

Lots of food for thought and mouth. Just by inserting "perennial cabbage" in the google thing.
William
 
Burra Maluca
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Just followed your links and found 'Paul and Becky's Asturian Tree Cabbage - very very rare' Spanish heriloom, used to make 'caldo gallego'.

Bullshit is it rare - every backyard in Portugal grows galega cabbage to make cabbage soup.

How much seed do you want? We didn't save seed this year but we can buy it in assorted size packs from the local farm supply shop.

It can get a bit tough, especially during really hot, dry weather, which is why it tends to get turned into soup. Here's some we grew this year on the patch of land we put last year's humanure on.



It grows for two years without any fuss or special treatment, and you just pick off as many leaves as you want. Generally you walk along the row and pick one or two leaves off each plant. You also need a donkey to eat the stalks as they take forever to compost otherwise.
 
Charles Kelm
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I would love to have some of these seeds. How can we make that happen? Thank you! I am sure this must be what Toby was speaking of.
 
Burra Maluca
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Send me a PM and give me some idea how many seeds you'd be interested in and whether you'd like a 'proper' seed packet. It might be worth me buying a bulk pack if they have them and splitting it to distribute around permies members, but if I did that obviously you wouldn't get the pretty packet. I've no idea on the rules about importing seeds into the US from Europe either - any idea if it's likely to be a problem? Italy and the rest of the EU is no problem for me.
 
Charles Kelm
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Thank you for your kind offer. I don't need a pretty packet, but it might make it easier to get the seed into the country. For all we know, it may be impossible to receive it from you. It's something which would need to be researched before we proceed. Regardless, it would probably be good to send a bunch to one person in the U.S., and then have that person distribute the seeds to other interested parties.
 
Burra Maluca
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I found this link about Importing Seeds into the US .

Seems complicated...
 
Charles Kelm
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I looks like you don't have to send them in seed packets from the store, but for some stupid reason no more than 50 seeds per packet. Clear plastic bags with labels attached would be the preferred method I believe.

Does that sound like something you could do?
 
Burra Maluca
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I'd certainly be willing to give it a go - it's the 'packaged and labelled as required' that needs to be fully explored. As soon as I get a chance I'll find out what size packets are available and we'll start to sort something out. It will either work perfectly or go so badly wrong we won't want to bother trying again, but we won't know until we try.
 
Jesus Martinez
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It would probably be easier to mail one person in the US a lb of seed and have them distribute it to the rest of us. Should be much easier through customs that way.
 
Charles Kelm
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Yeah Burra - I need to apply for a permit. Do you think you could package multiple plastic bags with no more than 50 seeds in each bag. I would find out what the label would need to say. I would then have to send you money and paperwork.
 
Burra Maluca
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If you can start organising the paperwork I'll pick up some seeds and suitable packaging and when I get a chance I'll sit here cursing the lawmakers as I count out no more than fifty seeds at a time into each silly little packet. Oh joy...

Paypal is a wonderful way to send money internationally if you have an account, but the paperwork is the most important thing else the seeds will never reach you. Sending a big box *would* be easier, but I suspect it would never arrive.
 
Charles Kelm
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Yes, PayPal will be perfect. I will start on the paperwork process. Don't buy any seeds until we're all ready. Thanks for helping out!
 
Burra Maluca
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Turns out my other half had just bought a large packet from the local farm shop - 100g for 'a couple of euros'. Not terribly accurate, but gives a ballpark figure. Apparently you get about 200 cabbage seeds per gram, so that should be around 20, 000 seeds. We also had to pop into town this morning and went into a smaller, local seed supplier and bought a 10g pack of a different 'brand' of Galega for 35 cents, which should contain around 2000 seeds. So it looks like the cost of the seed itself isn't the problem, it's just the hassle of the re-packing and the paperwork. It's probably best to send some of each 'brand' that I can lay my hands on to give the widest genetic base possible. I might pluck up the courage to beg some of the neighbours, too.

William - you're in Italy aren't you? Let me know how much seed you want and where to send it!
 
Victor Johanson
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FWIW, I order seed from overseas now and then; the only time they've ever been intercepted was on one occasion when I ordered some seed from Norway out of the SSE yearbook; all they did was confiscate them and tell me to get a permit next time. Those inclined toward civil disobedience might find the risk acceptable. I found some on eBay (UK):

http://cgi.ebay.com/300-Seeds-Portuguese-Cabbage-Organic-Collard-Greens_W0QQitemZ290572215228QQcmdZViewItemQQssPageNameZRSS:B:SRCH:US:105#ht_1741wt_1009
 
Burra Maluca
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Victor Johanson wrote:FWIW, I order seed from overseas now and then; the only time they've ever been intercepted was on one occasion when I ordered some seed from Norway out of the SSE yearbook; all they did was confiscate them and tell me to get a permit next time. Those inclined toward civil disobedience might find the risk acceptable.


Interesting. I'm open to PMs...
 
Charles Kelm
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OK, well I am still very interested in the Portuguese cabbage,but I got a reply from Toby and he had this to say:

"It's a brassica. Google "tree collards" (not cabbage, and it's more commonly called tree rather than bush). Seeds are hard to find since it rarely sets seed, similar to comfrey. Find a permie with a cutting." I did, and found some interesting website and many other hits:

http://treecollards.blogspot.com/


 
                                      
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Hey could it be the thousand head kale?
Brassica napus subsp. napus or: Brassica oleracea convar. acephala var. medullosa

they become really bushy.

thousand headed kale

hmmm, lets look it up, where is my copy of gaia's garden...

and then there are tree-cabbage, walking stick cabbage and palm cabbage...
 
Jesus Martinez
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Charles Kelm wrote:OK, well I am still very interested in the Portuguese cabbage,but I got a reply from Toby and he had this to say:

"It's a brassica. Google "tree collards" (not cabbage, and it's more commonly called tree rather than bush). Seeds are hard to find since it rarely sets seed, similar to comfrey. Find a permie with a cutting." I did, and found some interesting website and many other hits:

http://treecollards.blogspot.com/



I have one of these plants that I got from John Kohler. I plan on propagating these so I can get as many as possible.
 
Victor Johanson
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Bountiful Gardens sells tree collard cuttings in June:

http://www.bountifulgardens.org/products.asp?dept=141
 
Burra Maluca
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We just had a visitor around, who happens to be a bit of a local agri expert, so we picked her brains on the virtues and uses of Galega cabbage, and did a photo shoot.

Here is Assuncao discussing the finer points of Couve Galega with my other half.



She says that head height is about perfect - you don't have to reach up too high to pick the leaves. Lower leaves that aren't good enough for the table get fed to animals or used to wipe your butt.



Just love this photo - it's the epitome of everything good about Portugal.



She says that Galega will normally grow for about five years but that after a year or two it will start to put out little netas, literally 'granddaughters', from the lower stem.



So you snap them off...



...make a little hole in the ground...



...pop the neta in...



and there you have a brand new Couve Galega!



The flower heads are picked before they open, a bit like sprouting broccoli. They are very popular in Portugal and known as grelos.

 
Ivan Weiss
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I got three tree collards cuttings from Bountiful in the fall and planted them outside, each in its own big pot. The folks at Bountiful told me they should root overwinter and come up just fine in the spring. Their information coincides exactly with Assuncao's in Burra Maluca's comment.

Another brassica of Portuguese origin is the annual couve tronchuda. This looks like collards but is a smooth-leaved kale. This is, simply put, an outstanding vegetable that everyone should try at least once.
 
William James
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Burra: Amazingly Beautiful those pics. There is hope.

William
 
Burra Maluca
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There is indeed hope, William!

I'm especially pleased that she said they'd live for around five years as we'd only kept ours for two so we weren't sure. I'll get that seed parcel off to you asap - we all went down with a dose of flu after all the upsets here so I'm behind on everything, again...

Ivan - I think we have some tronchuda growing somewhere, too. I'll photograph it for you. I'll have to pick Assuncao's brains again next time she's over, but I know she calls it Couve dos Burros (donkey cabbage) and claims that in famine years, Portugal only survives because of it. She's promised to come round again soon, and I'm going to get her to show us all the wild stuff that the locals eat and hope she's willing to do another photo shoot. I'll have to take notes and start a new thread to share what I learn.
 
Honora Holmes
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Thanks for sharing the info and pics, Burra! It was really neat to see them growing in the orchard.
 
Honora Holmes
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ivan. wrote:I got three tree collards cuttings from Bountiful in the fall and planted them outside, each in its own big pot. The folks at Bountiful told me they should root overwinter and come up just fine in the spring. Their information coincides exactly with Assuncao's in Burra Maluca's comment.

Another brassica of Portuguese origin is the annual couve tronchuda. This looks like collards but is a smooth-leaved kale. This is, simply put, an outstanding vegetable that everyone should try at least once.


I heard about getting them from Bountiful from John Kohler and was hoping to buy from them next time they are available. I can't wait. They look and sound great.
 
Ivan Weiss
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Burra Maluca wrote: I know she calls it Couve dos Burros (donkey cabbage) and claims that in famine years, Portugal only survives because of it.


Well, couve tronchuda and bacalhao, I'd bet (that's dried cod for you desconhecidos, haha). Couve tronchuda, like all collards, kale, and other leafy brassicas, combines beautifully with small amounts of meat and fish in all kinds of recipes from all kinds of cultures.

Another brassica that produces mass quantities of leaves is kohlrabi. Although kohlrabi is grown primarily for the root, the variety that I grow, Gigante, from Nichols Garden Nursery, is a true permaculture-level multipurpose crop, that produces massive leaves and roots. The size of these plants is staggering. It's like producing edible shotputs or cannonballs. If you thin these mercilessly, the roots will grow (above the ground) so quickly that you can get 30- 40-pounders in a growing season. Nichols claims a 62-pounder, but I'd have to see it to believe it.

I use the leaves like bush cabbage or couve tronchuda or any kind of collards, and I shred the roots for sauerkraut. Imagine a 20-pound cabbage heart. They don't get woody centers either. I always have more than I can eat, but they are superb cattle, hog, and poultry fodder, all parts of the plant.
 
Charles Kelm
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Thanks for the tip Ivan. I will order the kohlrabi. I am putting together an order with Fedco seeds, who I have found to be the very least expensive of the ethical seed companies, and I was happy to see that they have Kohlrabi Gigante as well. You get 4 times the seed for half the price (about fifty cents a gram at Fedco vs: about $4 a gram at Nichols).
 
Honora Holmes
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Charles Kelm wrote:Thanks for the tip Ivan. I will order the kohlrabi. I am putting together an order with Fedco seeds, who I have found to be the very least expensive of the ethical seed companies, and I was happy to see that they have Kohlrabi Gigante as well. You get 4 times the seed for half the price (about fifty cents a gram at Fedco vs: about $4 a gram at Nichols).


I love Fedco! I need to place my order tonight.
 
Matthew Fallon
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Honora Holmes wrote:
ivan. wrote:I got three tree collards cuttings from Bountiful in the fall and planted them outside, each in its own big pot. The folks at Bountiful told me they should root overwinter and come up just fine in the spring. Their information coincides exactly with Assuncao's in Burra Maluca's comment.


I heard about getting them from Bountiful from John Kohler and was hoping to buy from them next time they are available. I can't wait. They look and sound great.



I also bought the cuttings from bountiful back in November.think i got them on the last available day. 2 of the 3 were very skinny little things and just died right away(rotted,god did they stink!)
the 3rd was chunkier, i have it potted inside. it put on small leaves after a week or two, but those have dropped now, not sure if its alive anymore,thinking of pulling it up to take a look ?
they did say this would happen(leaf out a bit,then go dormant and root) but it is feeling pretty dead and loose.
tree collard 1.jpg
[Thumbnail for tree collard 1.jpg]
december 3rd
tree collard 2.JPG
[Thumbnail for tree collard 2.JPG]
january 4th
 
Brenda Groth
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interesting, that might be something I'd like to check out this year..I have a lot of NEW plants and seeds ready to order for this year already..
 
Matthew Fallon
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from what i can dig up so far, "tree collard/kale" ,walking sitck kale,purple tree cabbage and all these other common names seem to all fall under Brassica oleracea var. acephala . but obviously have some big differences. you can see they're very different in appearance . the pics at http://treecollards.blogspot.com show very purple plants with multiple trunks while the pics on the ebay listing are 1 solid thick trunk with very green leaves.
also many places state that "tree collard" will not grow true to seed .bountiful gardens says this as well as the blog website above . but burra gets seeds and theyre also on ebay, obviously these are differnet varieties...are they all perennial and cold-hardy?
the blog mentions it is a "california hybrid" so maybe that is what that type is,but hybrid of what others?

this is confuzzling, im going to watch a movie and veg a bit...
------------

OK ! believe I've got it sorted out now !

so , we are actually talking about at least 3 plant here. found a video of john kohler showing how he harvests seed from them.


1. the Portuguese cabbage/seeds are the variety known here as "walking stick kale" and also "jersey kale/cabbage". they grow true to seed .this is what Burra and the Ebay seller have ( i went ahead and ordered 300 from that seller, thank you for posting!) theyre also for sale on this page but are more expensive there,not sure if there is any difference between them, http://www.tmseeds.com/product/Kale-Walking-Stick/Shop_Vegetable_and_Herb_Seed
John also had a video purely on these



2. this is "tree kale/collard" , or "Purple Tree Collard"..it is teh "california hybrid" that is the purple variety which we see in john's video and also on the blog website

3. also "tree kale/collard" but this is the GREEN variety... neither of these grow true to seed apparently.

"4. " there might be a 4th? Tronchuda Cabbage, check this one out http://youtu.be/OddJgOtCukA
in that one he also shows "Portuguese Sea Kale" which again goes by "Brassica oleracea ' .

i have some seeds from bountiful gardens of perennial "lily white seakale" http://www.bountifulgardens.org/prodinfo.asp?number=VSE-5260
wonder if this is one of the plants that was hybridized into the tall tree varieties? the seakale botanical name however is "Crambe maritima"
with only 6 seeds to a packet theyre something like 40 cents each o_0.

ok, now i understand the brassica oleracea thing.
http://youtu.be/von7j2zIoaU
 
Achaeos Salisbury
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Tree Collards (John's babies) are a different breed than Walking Stick Kale and Asturian Tree Cabbage. At this point I have no reason to think that Tree Collards could survive Zone 6, Northeast Oklahoma so I have never grown them. I would try growing them by bringing potted individuals indoors during winter and planting cuttings as annuals each spring if I could easily acquire some cuttings to start out with. Asturian Tree Cabbage should survive nicely here year-round and I am searching for a source of them if anyone has the knowing of such a source.
All 3 of these are Brassica oleracea along with all of your normal cabbages, kales, collards, brussel sprouts, broccolis, cauliflower, kohlrabi.
I would be wary of seed from Johns Tree Collards because they could be crossed with other varieties of Brassicas that were flowering in his garden or even his neighbors garden at the same time as the flowers that produced the seeds. So propagation by cuttings is a must. There is also the concern that these tree collards cant breed true anyway, even if you bred them under controled conditions to avoid contamination. I have heard this is the case. An example is the giant sunflowers I got several years ago. The striped seeds grew into sunflowers with striped seeds. The new striped seeds grew into some sunflowers which had striped seeds, some had dark almost purple hued seeds and some had white seeds. Saving seed is not always a simple operation and when dealing with the brassicas it is quite a challenge to keep all of these different types true and uncrossed. I eat the flower stalks of a 2nd year cabbage just the same as a tight head of broccoli, no big deal. I just keep picking them and new stalks keep coming. Maybe one day we can develop a strain that you can harvest a head cabbge from the first year & then a good head of broccoli from the 2nd year. Or perhaps Brussel sprouts as big as cabbage with a tight broccoli followup.
 
Burra Maluca
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I just wanted to update this thread a little. Our Galega cabbage, which we planted in September 2010, started to flower in April this year when the plants were 18 months old.



We noticed that the neighbours seemed to be taking the flowers off the cabbages in some of their cabbage patches but not others, so we suspected it might mean that the plants would die if they were allowed to go to seed. I took the flowers off the 'substandard' plants in our patch and left the best ones to seed. Sure enough, the ones that I'd removed the flowers from are still green and leafy but the others have put all their effort into seeding and now appear to be dead. So if you want your perennial cabbage to keep going, take off any flowers.

Today I took all the seed from that purple plant that Assuncao is standing next to and have stored it separately - there's a lot of seed from one plant! I also took the stem as it's especially strong and straight and am going to have a go at turning it into some kind of walking stick. Tomorrow I'm going to to take seed off some of the other plants.
 
Paul Gutches
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Sounds like you may be referring to perennial bush kale?

I believe that species is Brassica oleracea var ramosa

which has it's origins in northern France and goes by the common name "Chou Daubenton"

Anyway, that's one of the plants whose praises are sung in Gaia's Garden.

It does not produce seeds in any quantity, if at all, hence they are propagated by leaf cuttings, and so are mostly sold by over seas sources.

That would explain why this plant is so scarce here.

I may have located a source though in time for Spring.

They are perennial to 5 degrees and lower with protection.

Don't know if that means they outright die any lower or come back from roots.

Paul




 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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