The prolonged hot weather we've been having is moving everything in the garden along very quickly this year. The Tuscan kale plants that I allowed to overwinter have already set their seed and matured it. This seed, from plants I put in last year, represents three generations of survival here in southeastern PA. Given the horrendous wet gardening year that was 2009, and our fairly impressive winter storms, this is a good start towards selecting for plants that will tolerate the wide swings that nature brings to this region.
I have enough seed to provide about a dozen of you with a small quantity of seed. You'll need to let your plants go to seed in the second year if you want a larger quantity of seed. But that will only mean that your seed is better adapted to your particular location as you save it year to year. And the seed will be abundant. This happens to be very easy seed to save. Simply unfold a square of newspaper under the dry seed pods hanging off the plant, and rub the pods between your hands. The seeds and some split pods will fall onto the newspaper. Then you fold up the newspaper, keeping all the seeds in, and open it up somewhere cool and dim so all the insects can crawl away and the seed can completely dry.
Just so you know, this kale goes by several other names, including kale lacinato, dinosaur kale, and cavolo nero. In some parts of the US, if you plant this seed as soon as you receive it, you'll stand a good chance of getting a late fall crop. Tuscan kale is pretty cold hardy and it takes a serious frost or two to shut it down for the year. In my zone, 6b, about one half to two-thirds of the plants survive the winter with absolutely no help from me and go on to set seed in the next year. I love the baby kale leaves I can harvest early in the spring from those plants.
If you're interested, leave a comment with your name and mailing address. (I know I can legally mail seed to Canada, but I'm unsure about other countries. If you can point me to references about the legality for your country, I'm game.) I will delete all comments with personal information as I read them. If you have something to say about this kale or seed saving other than asking for some seeds, leave a separate comment. Oh, and whoever it was that wanted to trade some of your Russian kale seeds for some of my Tuscan kale seeds, I'm still interested.
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