Perpetual Kale?

lathechuck's picture

A kale plant, from my experience, usually dies in the summer after it blooms and sets seeds. So, if you want a continuous supply, you need to stagger sowing. However, I put some in late last spring, harvested them selectively through the summer, protected and harvested them sparingly through the winter, and harvested them vigorously when they surged in the spring. Then they went to seed. One of the six plants survived the seed-bearing process, so it's got small but harvest-able leaves in mid-July. Seed that fell in the lawn during my seed-saving operation produced plants which are ready for light picking in late July. In early-July, I started sowing the saved seed, so I also have some very small plants to set out soon to start the process again. Has anyone tried "castrating" biennials to prevent them from spending their energy on seeds, to keep producing tasty leaves year after year?

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mountainmoma's picture

I can keep it for quite a while, depends on the plant and the year, but it isnt going to be perennial. But, I reseeds itself quite well, so I never have to start kale, chard or magenta spreen lambsquarters in seed starting pots, I just need to thin it or move a few if I want them somewhere else, so basically, you can keep up a colony forever. Do provide fertility

ClareBroommaker's picture

That older, blue kale is a beautiful plant. Front yard worthy.

From last, year I had one kohlrabi to survive. It looked horrendous by spring this year but grew very well, providing a leaves for three months now. The leaves are large and vigorous. I'm not sure if this kohlrabi bloomed and set seed last year.

Right next to the kohlrabi is a Chinese broccoli. I feel sure that the broccoli bloomed last year., but lived on. It blooms and sets seed pretty quickly. It, too, made just loads of leaves that we just slice up small and throw into whatever pot of food. It bloomed and set seed which I have saved, drying in a glass bowl for a while.

Not with these vegetables, but with some ornamental flowers, I have cut off the seed beginning to form and coaxed another year out of them. I've done that with dianthus, which actually are sold here as annuals, yet are at least biennials and much nicer in their second year. I've sometimes gotten a third year out of them. So yeah, I think you should try cutting bloom stalks to see if you can get another year of vegetation from your kale.