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Giant Kale

 
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We planted some Red Russian Kale (I know, not giant) that produced a profusion of greenery the first year, overwintered, sprouted (think broccolini) and releafed in the spring and produced a bounty of seeds that left kale coming up all over the yard. It's easy to hoe the unwanted and just leave those desired for greens and sprouts. The original seeds were purchased in 1988 and haven't bought any since. Seems not to cross with the multitude of mustards we grow and we get to eat it pretty nearly all year 'round.
 
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Location: SW New Mexico, 5300'elevation, 18" precip
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These are two kale varieties that have grown tall for me. They have overwintered in New Mexico and grown 6 foot tall at least. Thousand headed gets a lot of side shoots and I have a few plants that have gone through their second winter, unprotected outside with the lowest temp down to 5 degrees.

Thousandhead Kale
Ancient variety from the UK was mentioned in Vilmorin’s The Vegetable Garden in 1885 as a productive, multi-branching type that also goes by the name “branching borecole”. Vilmorin also mentions that the variety originally hailed from western France. Peter Miller of Kings Seed mentioned that Thousandhead kale was long appreciated in the UK as a fodder crop, but it has been re-discovered as a tasty culinary variety. Leaves are smooth with lightly curled edges for easier pest management. Those who have struggled with cabbage worms understand how caterpillars love to hide in the folds of curly kale leaves. This variety is just lightly curled at the edges, making caterpillars easier to spot and treat! This seed was sourced from Kings Seed of England; the King family has been in the seed business for centuries. John Kemp King began selling seeds in 1793; his grandson Ernest William began Kings Seeds, and it has been in business for 130 years! Kings Seed is the last remaining horticultural wholesale seed house left in England and still a family affair. Miller has worked for the company 55 years, and his grandfather also worked for Kings since 1913( from Baker Creek Heirlooms)


Groniger Kale

Brassica napas Open Pollinated  Heirloom 50 days. Grows 6" to 6'
Dutch heirloom grown and eaten for centuries in central Holland. Young leaves are flat with tender, juicy red stems. These may be harvested in spring when about 6" and continue harvesting through the spring and on into winter. Grow as you would other kales.
Use in salads, stir-frys, soups etc. and enjoy the fine taste of this winter hardy variety that bears a resemblance to Red Russian but more tender and juicier  leaves. When we grow this plant it is a sampling of medieval food. Thank you to Carol Deppe for introducing it to us. ( from Nichols Nursery)
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sequoia and the thousand headed kale
 
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Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Everybody grows this here. I often see my neighbour walking back from her huerto with armfuls of the stuff. That and 'gruelos' - turnip greens.
 
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Location: Raleigh, NC (zone 7b)
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Luke Perkins wrote:I recently started a website dedicated to spreading plant material and information about purple tree collards. They can reach over ten feet tall and are hardy down to around 20° F (-7° C). Depending on how you pruned it I think you could definitely get a walking stick out of one. I will try to take some photos of the trunks on one of our older tree collards tomorrow. They are probably over two inches in diameter. Our crop of dino kale that we planted last summer overwintered and was about three to five feet tall before going to seed last month.



Your website is awesome, and I am DEFINITELY trying this plant out on our new homestead! I'm wondering. We live in Raleigh, NC (zone 7b/8a), and I'm trying to think if I could manipulate a microclimate that could help it survive the winter. Do you think one of those fabric tree covers would help it? Or even just keeping it out of the wind? I would rather not have to move it. If this works, I want to plant a LOT of them as fodder for animals. Our homestead is only .94 acres, but I want to grow as much as we can to support the animals both for health, environment, and reducing feed costs. This seems like a really good possibility since i know some folks grow microgreens or sprouted grains as animal food. Maybe this could work too!
 
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