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Hello,
i am posting some pictures of new perennial kale varieties that i grew from seed.
I was Lucky to obtain seeds of Daubenton Kale crossed with Tree Collards.
I sowed the seeds and ended up with 50+ plants.
Every one of those that flowered was culled and i am now left with about 20 plants.
6 or 7 of those are growing very vigourously and seem to be great new perennial kale varieties (i they don't flower next year)
One of the characteristics of perennial kale, if not its main characteristic, is that it never sets seed and grows faithfully year after year giving loads of leaves.
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Philip Heinemeyer
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At the same time i am asking myself if i couldn't just cut off any flower stalks and thereby "train" or "convince" the kale along the lines of "no,no you don't flower. Bad kale! Stop running to seed!"
And then one or two years later it would give up trying to go to seed. I don't know. But it seems logical and worthwhile to me to have selected all the plants that didn't go to seed.
It may not be that obvious from the pictures but there is quite a diversity in terms of leaf shape, colour and taste of these new perennial kales.
 
pollinator
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If it never goes to seed, how am I going to grow it?
 
Philip Heinemeyer
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It is propagated by cuttings. You just break off a branch stick it in the ground and it will root.
 
Todd Parr
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Philip Heinemeyer wrote:It is propagated by cuttings. You just break off a branch stick it in the ground and it will root.



I'd love to try it if it can survive this climate.
 
pollinator
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I am searching for perennial kale seeds, I think the plants are not available in Australia. Does it ever go to seeds? And how does it react to the cabbage butterfly?
 
Philip Heinemeyer
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I'd love to try it if it can survive this climate.

Todd, perennial kale is generally very cold hardy. Try and maybe find some tree collards or daubenton kale through the seed saver exchange network in the us of a.
 
Philip Heinemeyer
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I am searching for perennial kale seeds, I think the plants are not available in Australia. Does it ever go to seeds? And how does it react to the cabbage butterfly?

Perennial kale seeds are hard to find because it normally never sets seed. Last year my plants were swarming with cabbage butterfly caterpillars and this year there was none.
I would think that there definitely is people in australia that do grow perennial kale, but it won't be offered for sale in "normal" plant nurseries.
Try and check if there is an equivalent to the seed savers exchange in australia
 
Mother Tree
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Philip Heinemeyer wrote:At the same time i am asking myself if i couldn't just cut off any flower stalks and thereby "train" or "convince" the kale along the lines of "no,no you don't flower. Bad kale! Stop running to seed!"
And then one or two years later it would give up trying to go to seed. I don't know.



The galega cabbage I grow generally needs all the flowers cutting off every year to persuade it to stay alive.

I have, however, been running a little experiment for a few years to just leave a big patch to run wild with no attention whatsoever.  Less than a tenth still survive, but those that do are mostly ones that haven't seeded yet plus one that looks like it might have survived even though it did flower. 

Personally I would prefer a 'true' perennial that will seed freely and live to seed another year.  That way I get broccoli to eat every year plus seed of the best plants to share without losing my mother plants. 

 
Philip Heinemeyer
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It's a great idea, but since kale is normally a biennial plant, flowering means the end of its life cycle. Producing so much seed takes a lot of energy and i doubt that it is possible for a kale plant to do that every year.
But who knows, a lot of things have been accomplished through plant breeding and maybe it could work.

Do you know purple sprouting broccoli?
I Wonder if there is a perennial form of that.
I heard about nine star broccoli but i never grew or saw it.
If you harvest the flower heads before they go to seed the plant would lose a lot less energy and might become perennial easier.
 
Burra Maluca
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Philip Heinemeyer wrote:
If you harvest the flower heads before they go to seed the plant would lose a lot less energy and might become perennial easier.



Galega will live for years if you take the flowers off - I usually harvest them for broccoli.  The ones in this experiment are five years old already, and there is just one that looks like it might have survived flowering.  Traditionally every flower is removed and the plants left to grow until they get too tall to easily harvest or they start to fall over in the wind, then the entire patch is cleared
 
pollinator
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So I should stake them Burra ? Mine fall all over the place I have no shame I don't care it encourages new shoots from the base

David
 
Burra Maluca
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I never stake mine.  Any that fall in the first few years are left there until I want to remove them so they don't spread their falling-over genes to any that I'm trying to save seed from.
 
Burra Maluca
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Philip Heinemeyer wrote:
Do you know purple sprouting broccoli?
I Wonder if there is a perennial form of that.



Here's one of my purple-selected galega, producing something very like purple sprouting broccoli, for the second time, in its third year.

I sent seed from the same batch that this was raised from to someone trying to breed perennial purple sprouting broccoli, but for me this is good enough as it is.

breeding-perennial-purple-sprouting-broccoli-kale-galega


This one died after I saved seed from it.  I might sow some of that seed with seed from the one plant that survived seeding this year to see if I can work towards a true perennial. 
 
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Philip Heinemeyer wrote:It is propagated by cuttings. You just break off a branch stick it in the ground and it will root.



I want to try this...seems like I've read (can't remember where) that it's a little more difficult than just sticking in the ground though? 
Mine had nice leaves early but eventually the cabbage worms cleaned them up.  Just now some are beginning to make more leaves but a couple are just two foot tall 'stalks' that I thought I might as well try to root....

any advice?
 
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Burra Maluca wrote:

Here's one of my purple-selected galega, producing something very like purple sprouting broccoli, for the second time, in its third year.

I sent seed from the same batch that this was raised from to someone trying to breed perennial purple sprouting broccoli, but for me this is good enough as it is.

This one died after I saved seed from it.  I might sow some of that seed with seed from the one plant that survived seeding this year to see if I can work towards a true perennial. 




Bura, this is fantastic.  If you ever find yourself with too much seed I'd be very interested in crossing it with some cold hardy kale to see if we can develop zone 5 hardy perennial kale and broccoli.  Love what you're up to.
 
David Livingston
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I suspect you can get cold hardy perrenial type Kale already see walking stick cabbage
 
Angelika Maier
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I realiyed that my request on perennia cabbage seeds was a bit stupid, doesn't work either it's perennial or it sets seeds. Will cabbage be ever bred into a true perennial plant?
 
Burra Maluca
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It isn't a stupid question, it comes down to definitions and what we want 'perennial' to mean.

Scientifically, perennial means that a plant will go through more than one year of seed production.  So a plant that lives for only two years but produces seed each year will count as perennial, even though it's not likely to meet the needs of a gardener who wants a plant to last for many years.

For most vegetable production, perennial just means that it will live for several years so we don't have to re-grow it.  Most perennial cabbage seems to be the sort that never, or rarely, goes to seed.  Galega is a little different in that it readily seeds every year, but if you harvest the buds as broccoli, or just cut the flowers off in time, it will survive another year.  I usually have plenty of seed to share around but will generally lose my best plants because they die when I let them get to the seed forming stage.

Except this year, where I've just abandoned the poor things and let nature take its course.  I had a poke around in the wilderness out there yesterday and seem to have two plants that have survived seeding.  They're a bit ratty looking, but their alive.  If I get some time and energy I might go out there and ruthlessly remove anything that might interfere with them breeding next year and try to get seed from them.  I did manage to retrieve a handful from each this year, but they will have crossed with other galega that has since shrivelled up and died.  I don't know if I can ever get them to be 'true' perennial, but I'll see how far I can push the envelope.
 
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Our local long time Tree Collard grower has been able to save seed from a random flowering of the perennial tree collards.
We have been growing the new cultivar for a couple years now and its just like the original perennial cuttings that we offer for sale.
Bountiful Gardens used to be the premiere tree collard supplier. Sadly they have closed their doors.
We have a new seed company called Sundial Seed Company and we are working with the original and best Northern California grower of the Tree Collards
to supply delicious perennial cuttings online at sundialseed.com.

thanks,
Luke
Perennial Tree Collards
 
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some of the ethiopian kale -Brassica carinata - aka Texsel greens- aka a lot of other names -
plants that i have grown have become perennial ish.
maybe they only live 3 - 4 years...but i have also had the occasional cabbage or other kale type to live 3-4 years and come back the next year even after exhausting itself by going to seed in the second year.

the ethiopian kale also self seed a lot, and are the only brassica i know of that produces true to type seeds...being that it is a stable hybrid, a natural ancient hybrid...and so it can grow around other brassicas and not outcross.

i've been wanting to grow some tree collards for a while myself...
 
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Would totally trade for some cuttings of perennial brassicas of any kind such as nine star broccoli, kale, tree collards, etc. Please hit me up!
 
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I had good results with ''Eeuwig moes''(don't know the English name for it, Brassica oleracea ramosa), it is one of the oldest cabbage species. After it has taken a good root in your garden it requires next to no maintenance and will grow to be a shrub around half a metre high. Just let it be and cut what you need.

 
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Angelika Maier wrote:I am searching for perennial kale seeds, I think the plants are not available in Australia. Does it ever go to seeds? And how does it react to the cabbage butterfly?



I have some Homesteader’s Kaleidoscopic Perennial Kale Grex seeds from The Experimental Farm Network that I’ll be planting soon.
Check out their website.
Good stuff.
 
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Philip Heinemeyer wrote:At the same time i am asking myself if i couldn't just cut off any flower stalks and thereby "train" or "convince" the kale along the lines of "no,no you don't flower. Bad kale! Stop running to seed!"
And then one or two years later it would give up trying to go to seed. I don't know. But it seems logical and worthwhile to me to have selected all the plants that didn't go to seed.
It may not be that obvious from the pictures but there is quite a diversity in terms of leaf shape, colour and taste of these new perennial kales.



In my experience regular kale can be "perennial." Through the summer I keep working my up the stalk picking leaves to use, break off any attempted seed heads, and when the stalk is bare I snap off the top and keep it fertilized and watered well. It keeps putting out new growth on the stalk every time I repeat the process. Just leave the stalk in the ground over winter and it will start putting out a new growth of leaves again next spring.
 
Derrick Clausen
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Anyone willing to share seeds or cuttings of expected to be perennial kales or other brassicas? I have much to trade!

Thanks for any help!
 
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