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First time with Kale and Brussels breeding

 
Russell Olson
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Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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So inspecting the garden this spring, it appears I had a few brusselsprouts and red russian kale plants survive the winter, now budding out on their lower stems.
This doesn't happen in Minnesota very often I don't think, I've had turnips make it through the winter so I suppose it's possible. We had a super mild winter and early spring here.
I expect these plants will go to seed this year and I don't know what to expect. A quick internet search says lots of crosses are possible with other plants, fine by me.
I've had weird mustard hybrids pop up before, they all have green leaves that can be used for food, forage, cover crop etc.
Anyone have tips on what to expect? Any chance this seed remains pure red russian kale or brusselsprouts?
 
Burra Maluca
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I'm pretty sure that red russian kale won't cross with 'normal' cabbage family plants.

I can't remember the details, but I had a vague experiment planned last year involving crossing red russian kale with my perennial kale and then I got all disappointed when I found out it wasn't going to work. They are both in flower at the moment and I intend to save the red russian kale seed and grow it out, just to check!
 
John Weiland
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@R. Olson: "Anyone have tips on what to expect? Any chance this seed remains pure red russian kale or brusselsprouts?"

Kale and brusselsprouts are both Brassica oleracea and can cross, but I don't know what will happen down the line. Perhaps selections can be made to arrive at "Kalettes": http://www.kalettes.com/about-kalettes.aspx

Note in particular the comment "Crossing kale with brussels sprouts was a natural fit since they are both from the Brassica Oleracea species which also includes cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli."

Alternatively if you "tent" multiple kale and multiple brussel sprout plants in their own groups so that the pollen can't move between the two, the kale may interpollinate itself and the brussel sprouts will do the same with themselves. You may get back seed representative of each, but I'm not entirely sure.
 
Burra Maluca
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John Weiland wrote:Kale and brusselsprouts are both Brassica oleracea and can cross, but I don't know what will happen down the line.


Red Russian kale is different though - it's Brassica napus not oleracea https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale
 
John Weiland
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Holy Brassica, Batman!......Burra, thanks for that! Totally caught by surprise by that difference. Good discussion on the Russian versus other kales here: http://www.seedambassadors.org/all-about-russian-siberian-kale-napus-kale/

And by the looks of the chart below, the napus group is a 'somewhat' polyploid, so would complicate crosses, even if the pollination did 'take': http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amphidiploid

BrassaBuddies.JPG
[Thumbnail for BrassaBuddies.JPG]
 
Burra Maluca
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Just for interest, I took a few photos this morning.

This is my couve galega, or portuguese kale, flowering. It will live for several years if the flowers are removed, so it's nearly perennial.



And this is some red russian kale, which was grown in a row interspersed with galega.



I was hoping to give them all minimal care so that only the best adapted plants survived. I duly lost over 75% of the red russian kale, but none of the home-bred galega. Then I wanted them both to flower at the same time in the hope that they would cross. I understand that my hope is likely to be in vain, but they did flower at the same time.



I intend to save seed from these and grow them out. At worst, I should have a locally adapted strain of red russian kale. At best, just maybe one or two seeds will be crossed with the galega and I might be able to get a perennial red russian. I'll let you know what happens.
 
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