Breeding a Landrace II: the unexpected bonus

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I have written recently about breeding my own brassica landrace, and I was happy enough that some of the plants survived the winter, made a nice crop of spring greens, and set seed. Since then, to my surprise, after the seed dried down a few of the plants produced a whole new crop of tender greens. So far I have been eating greens from these three plants since last summer, and they still seem to be going strong. It goes without saying that I will choose the seeds that these plants set for next year’s planting, and also will be watchful about whether they set another crop of seed and live through another winter. I am also trialing a few plants of the new perennial kale introduction, Kosmic Kale, shown below.
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I wonder if the delicious third-growth leaves produced by my brassica landrace might not be preferable to Kosmic, which (so far) is not distinguished for deliciousness.
My main point is, give your plants the room and time to surprise you. If I had pulled the brassica crosses out after harvesting seed, I wouldn’t know about their delightful late-summer greens. When we let nature teach us it’s amazing what we can learn.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Rob MacDonald on April 9, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    I have a kale I got at a Seedy Saturday 20 years ago that is a perennial It sets seed the first year, then survives the winter and comes back in the spring with new leaves. It sets seed again in the fall. I have had them survive 3-4 years in sheltered areas. Apparently the seed came from Africa originally, It did not survive the winter the first few years, but eventually, hardy volunteers grew in my garden, I am in the Inland North Coast of British Columbia, zone 5. Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste as good as the biennial Siberian kale that also self-seeds and volunteers in my garden. The Siberian kale flowers are also much tastier than the African ones.

    Reply

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