Common Name: Kale & Collards (Brassica oleracea)
Seed Saving Level: “Advanced” May cross with other B. Oleracea members, including cabbage, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Produces seeds during its second growing season.
Planting: Kale and collards are hardy insect-pollinated biennials that can withstand freezing temps. They also resist heat, though collards are a better choice for hot weather. Kale can fade in the summer sun. Plants flower prolifically and attract bees. Stalks can be up to 5 ft high. Sow seeds directly between August and May, ¼ - ½˝ deep. Plants like full sun, although light shade can help them tolerate hot weather.
Harvesting: Cut small, young leaves for fresh salads. Larger leaves can be harvested for braising and stir-fry -- cut the outer leaves first.
Seed Saving: Seeds are produced during the 2nd season. When fully developed, the pods will dry, and plants will die back. Remove the stalks when most pods have ripened and dried ~ before they begin to shatter, but not when they are still green. Cut stalks, gather, and allow pods to dry completely in a paper bag for a few weeks. When dry, shake the pods and the seeds will fall into the bag. The seeds can then be poured into a smaller container. Light shaking will bring debris to the top of the seeds where it can be hand-picked or winnowed. Use a screen to help with cleaning.
Sources: Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2014) by Suzanne Asworth, Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening (2014) by Jacqueline A. Soule, highmowingseeds.com/organic-kale-and-collards-growing-and-seed-saving-info, oodridge.wordpress.com/ 2010/06/26/saving-seeds-from-kale.
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