Since folks seemed to like my Giant Purple Bean, I thought I share one of my other favorites. I’ve taken to calling this guy “Kalards” as it’s a Kale / Collard cross. The collard in question is Green Glaze, which is itself a cross with a cabbage. I suspect that some of the Purple Cabbage That Would Not Die is in the mix, too. The F1 of it crossed with kale had no purple other than a tinge to the stems, and I think it was an F2 of that kale which crossed in with the Green Glaze. (But the reality of open pollination crossing is that you don’t every really know exactly who crossed with what. It’s an ‘after the fact’ game of “What do you think it looks like?”…)
In this picture, you also get some of the Runner Bean leaves along with their wonderful red flowers. I just love the interplay of light, red, green, sheen…
If you click on it to get the giant picture, you can see the little “tufts” of leaf on the stem before the main leaf. The particular Dragon Kale I used had that “tuft” and it confirms the cross. The seeds I planted for this batch also had some with the dusky darker color of Dragon Kale. I “rogued out” those, though I wish I hadn’t… It might have been an interesting more kale like / cabbage flavored result. Oh well, a lot more of that batch of seeds is in the freezer, should I get time to come back to that step.
These guys have been growing in this spot in Darwin’s Garden (c) for about 3 years now. I’ve collected seeds in 2 years and have an ample supply, so I’m torn between the desire to grow out more of them, and the desire to see just how perennial this guy is. Right now, we’re going for perennial… mostly as I’m too lazy to deal with it right now and have other things to do (like make some money… the market looks to be taking the positive news flow and The Fed decision for free money, putting it in the context of a Dimocrat Bloodbath, and running higher rather than fade. Up, flat, up ,flat, up,… rather than rolling. – But I digress..)
They are planted in a 4 x 4 foot wire ‘cage’ of dog run material. This lets the bunnies trim the sides, but not harvest the whole thing… The Eastern 2 x 4 swath is Runner Beans (that then climb 15 feet up the tree…) and the Southern 2 x 4 feet has a variety of things being “tested” from a rosemary to some potatoes from seed. IFF they survive, those will be one stubborn potato. (I don’t thin, I let them fight it out…)
The house is directly to the West, about 4 feet away. Yeah, they are in a valley about 4 feet wide between tall things. Sun? Maybe a couple of hours a day… Fertilizer? Only if a bunny decides to deliver some.
So here they are in “context” so you can see the overplanting:
Crowded? Oh yeah… Also, in a square just south of this one (in the background) are the tomatoes. You can see where they have come down the lower right side and filled in that 2 foot wide stone walkway… I think I like that particular tomato… It “has attitude” ;-) “Mortgage Lifter” I think. (I’d need to follow the vine back to the particular tomato in question, but it’s not the Roma and doesn’t look like the Siberian, and the Mortgage Lifter was on this corner of that square…)
So here is this cabbage family plant, that makes nice edible leaves year round, pays no attention at all to cold, does OK during the summer here, does not have the strong bitter flavor of typical collards, and is not at all finicky about anything. Just grows. And it’s a perennial in California.
The only ‘fault’ is seems to have is that the spring / summer growth 2nd year is more ‘small thin leaves, lots of yellow flowers / seeds’ and it waits for fall / winter to make the lush leaves you see here. I’m “good with that” as during spring I have lots of other things to eat. Having greens in the middle of winter is feature enough. And the seeds mean I could plant a square of them for the first year lush leaves if I wanted to do that.
Right now I’m trying to pick a square to clear to plant a load of the F4 from this planting. (There are actually 2 of them here…) Partly to assure it’s a stable cross and partly just to have greens all winter long.
The only “issue” I’ve had with them is an occasional bit of leaf miners. You can see one leaf with a couple of holes in it. If you look closely at the lower left corner, you will see a small yellow-green flower on something vaguely like giant Potato Leaves. That is a Tobacco plant. I’ve let them naturalize outside the squares. First off, the bunnies don’t eat them, so they CAN grow… I was getting tired of bare dirt… But more importantly, they trap leaf miners. Flip one of those fat leaves over and you find lots of little white egg dots. They never develop. The Nicotine kills them. So I decided to let them grow next to this square too. Notice that most of the leaves on the Kalards show no holes…
And finally, for the true eagle eye in the group. Yes, that is a sorghum under the Runner Beans and near the Kalards. It’s perennial too and re-sprouted from it’s roots. I keep meaning to “reward” it with a proper grow out and propagation, but often forget before the birds get to the seeds or before the other plants shade it into submission… Maybe next year… Hey, just ’cause it’s dark doesn’t mean it can’t grow and survive…
Welcome To Darwin’s Garden …. Survivors Will Be Eaten.