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Transplanting chard and kale going to seed for seed saving  RSS feed

 
Nancy Callan
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I have limited space in my part sun garden in my tree surrounded suburban lot in the pacific northwest and am most successful growing leafy greens like chard and some kale. Because I have limited space, but I want to save seeds, I was considering trying to transplant some of my chard and kale that is flowering or has set seed so I can free up the space for some other items and new starts that need to be planted. I was thinking about moving a few of them to some more shady, out of the way areas to let the seed finish developing and free up the prime, sunniest spots to get the new plants going. Has anyone ever tried moving flowering, second year greens like chard and kale? Will the disruption stop the seeds from developing? Or the lack of sun that they had previously? I'm going to try it regardless, but am curious about what to expect.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I expect that moving the plants will cause severe disruption to them. They might produce some seeds anyway. Please let us know how it works out for you.
 
r ranson
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I frequently move my chard and kale but haven't tried it after they flower. I'm curious to see what happens.

By that stage, I like to plant the next crops seeds beside the kale. When I harvest the kale seeds, I cut it off at the soil line with a serrated knife or little saw.

For chard, I might do something similar, but strip off the lower leaves first.

Just waking up, so my brain is still fuzzy, but some little memory tells me that plants producing seeds want lots of sun and airflow. Can you start the next crop to one side then transplant them to their final home once the seeds are harvested?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Keep this in mind for next year...
Before a few larger overwintering turnips began to bolt, I transplanted them. I moved them from all day sun to a place with 3 to 4 hours of sun. They bolted and set seed about a week and a half later then the turnips in the garden (which I had left since it was still too wet to till there!). The pods dried out in a few additional days, about a total of 2 weeks more than those who matured in place.
 
Galadriel Freden
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I believe chard is wind pollinated and kale is insect pollinated; moving kale to a shadier place might mean less pollination, since bees prefer to work in the sun.

I've got some Brussels sprouts going to seed, and like yours, are in a prime location right now--they are so tall I can't imagine trying to move them at this stage. I've staked them up as straight as possible, and have planted around them, like R Ranson.

 
wayne fajkus
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I think plants have a survival instict. So when they are stressed(dieing) they will go to seed quicker. Transplanting may help it along.

I'll give one example of why I think this to be true. If you want lots of flowers on an African violet you plant in an undersized pot.it gets potbound, survival instict kick in, and it flowers profusely
 
r ranson
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How about moving half and leaving half, then tell us the results?

Another thing I will do is to move the plant to the greenhouse if it's about to bolt. I tried this with turnips last year. This makes the seed making go much quicker, about a month early than the ones left out in the garden.
 
Nancy Callan
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I thought I'd report back in on my results since it's been a year. Unfortunately I wasn't too scientific about tracking it. I moved a variety of plants to various woodland border areas and pretty much ignored them. Some just died. One lacinato kale was near a rain barrel so I watered it sporadically and it turned out to be a spot that did get a little bit of sun, so it survived and the seed pods developed pretty well. I harvested some of them, but due to some roofing work that impacted my garden area, I didn't get them planted this spring (yet). I scattered, or left to drop many of the smaller seed pods around the area on the off chance that it might result in a bonus area of kale, but nothing germinated last fall or this spring. I didn't have high hopes since the area is wood chips and the salmonberry are pretty aggressive in moving into that area if I don't keep them trimmed back. This year I found a free pile with some old-fashioned round tomato cages and put those around/near a few plants in the main garden area and tied them up to get them out of the way and the new seeds are taking off just fine around them. I also decided I didn't need so many plants to go to seed, so many of the overwintered ones I have cut back from the top to keep them producing leaves to fill in my harvest till the new seedlings are big enough. (We had a cold, wet spring here in the Seattle area, so the biggest of the self-seeded chard plants are only about 1-3" tall as of June 8!) But I'm getting a reasonable harvest from the overwintered plants.
 
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