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~ KALE ~

For those of you who don't grow Kale - you should! An easily-grown plant, it is a great cooked 'green' for winter,
and the young leaves are also fantastic in salads.

plant picture Nero Di Toscana (Early strain)
A traditional black kale from Tuscany, also known as Palm Kale or Black Tuscan. The long leaves are quite deeply savoyed, but not as frilly as curly kale, so much more resistant to aphids and whitefly.

People normally use the mature leaves as a cooked vegetable, but this has such a nice flavour that we eat the thinnings and baby leaves raw in salad. Sow late spring to early summer for use late summer through to early winter.

As well as sowing in Spring outdoors, you can alternatively sow it in a polytunnel in late summer/early autumn and pick a few leaves at a time all winter when other salad ingredients are scarce. When it finally bolts, the flower shoots are a gourmet treat raw or cooked.

Delicious. Sow spring/summer for use late summer through into winter.

Order KaNT - (250 seed) £


plant pictureSutherland Kale ("Càil Cataibh" in Gaelic)

Back in 2003 we were sent a small sample of kale seed by Vicky Schilling, of Ullapool, with the following note attached:

“I am sending you some seed of Sutherland Kale given me by an 80yr old in Sutherland, its an old variety grown by the crofters. We grew it last season and its lovely, very tender green leaves on plants that grow waist high - need staking! Cooks just like spinach and lasts through the hungry gap.”

We tried it out and were really impressed. It is the most vigorous and resilient kale we have seen. It shrugged off attack by aphids, cabbage white caterpillars, ravenous goats, and 70 mph freezing sleet overwinter.

In each case it sprang back, growing new leaves with no trouble, and forming large heads of Kale in spring when at its most valuable. And when it starts to bolt in spring, the flowering shoots are good to eat too, very much like sprouting broccoli shoots.

In 2007 we recieved a bit more history about this kale, from Vicky, who has been researching the background of the Kale she sent us:

“The old lady the Kale came from is Elizabeth Woolcombe, of West Drummie in Sutherland. She is in fact 93, and her daughter has remembered where they got the Sutherland Kale from. It was given to them by Angus Simmonds about 50 years ago, he was doing research on Kales at Edinburgh University at the time."

Its really nice to know a bit more about this Kale, and good to learn that it was chosen as being particularly valuable by someone working on Kales in the past. Give it a try, your orders directly support our efforts to keep this variety in production.

A real success story for home seed-saving. This was - as far as we know - extinct other than the few seeds given to us. But since we rescued it, multiplied it up and offered it in the catalogue, people have saved their own seed grown from our packets and we have had happy reports back from all over the country and even Europe. Do keep your own seed using the instructions supplied!

Order KASU - a small packet of approx 150 seed £


When? For sowing in spring, transplant out when bigger, and harvest in autumn / overwinter.

plant pictureRed Ursa Kale
This is a great kale particularly useful for winter and spring harvest. The large upright plants have beautiful deep red-purple leaves with a unique shape - gently frilled at the edges.

It was bred by kale expert Frank Morton specifically for home gardeners - with emphasis on extra cold resistance and flavour. The leaves are tender and sweet even when big, and the flowering shoots when it finally bolts are also very nice both cooked or in salads.

Sweet & Hardy. Very rare. If you like it, keep your own seed using the instructions supplied!

Order KARU approx 200 seed £


When? For sowing in spring, transplant out when bigger, and harvest in autumn / overwinter.

plant pictureTrue Siberian Kale
A fast growing Kale, with large frilly blue-green leaves.

This great kale (originally from Seeds of Change) was given to us by Andrew and Sarah, the ‘Seed Ambassadors’ who toured many small seed collections in 2006, taking the best varieties from one country to another.

We really like it because not only is it particularly tasty and tender, it is also very cold-hardy. It can be picked through winter in many areas.

Quick & Hardy, and very tasty.

Order KaTS approx 200 seed £


When? For sowing in spring, transplant out when bigger, and harvest in autumn / overwinter.

plant pictureEast Friesian Palm Kale
This is a particularly hardy curly kale that grows very tall with crinkled leaves. It can be harvested from late summer all the way through the winter and into the following spring.

An ancient and valuable variety from Ostfriesland in North Germany, it is has been grown for thousands of years and is still kept going by a few small-scale farmers.

Please note this is incredibly rare, in order to make it available to you we have made up slightly smaller packets than we would prefer, but to be honest 100 or so kale plants should be plenty for anyone.

Order KaEF - small packet of approx 150 seed £


When? For sowing in spring, transplant out when bigger, and harvest in autumn / overwinter.

plant picture

plant picturePaul & Becky's Asturian Tree Cabbage
Although this is really a cabbage, it grows very much like a kale, so we've also included it here. It produces a 2 foot stalk with  a loose head on top. You simply take the huge leaves a few at a time to eat all year round.

You can even keep it going for two years or more. Just cut it back when it tries to flower - it makes new growth, ideal for fresh cabbage in spring during the ‘hungry gap’.

Cooks like a cabbage, rather than a kale, and also a key ingredient in the classic Spanish dish 'Caldo Gallego' - which is a delicious leaf, bean, and meat stew.

Grows like cabbage, harvested like a kale . Short lived perennial provided the flowers are removed as they form.

Order CaPB - small packet of 0.5g (approx 50 seed - a lot of cabbages!) £


Saving Brassica Seed:

plant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant pictureplant picture

You do need to make sure they aren't crossed with anything,
as many of the brassicas (kale, cabbages, cauliflowers etc) will cross with each other very readily.

Flower stalks from a good-sized population - 20 plants absolute minimum - are hung up to dry,
then broken open over a bowl (or old baby bath in this case).

The bits of pod are screened out with a sieve or a soil riddle
- but you can instead winnow them off in a breeze pretty easily if you prefer.

Seed-saving instructions are included with your seeds, so you can do this yourself.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.