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Daubenton's Kale and relatives

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  • Daubenton's Kale and relatives

    Just noticed that we don't actually have an entry for Daubenton's in the perennial section.

    There are 3 different kales that have came to me as Daubenton's. The 'real' Daubenton, a green perennial kale, the Variegated with pretty white-yellow trims round the leaf edges and the Taunton Dean Cottager Kale, a bit of a beast with purplish stems and leaf veins. At first the Taunton Dean was twice the size of the other two, but especially the plain Daubenton is catching up fast. At 3 years old, the plants are 4-5 foot tall and practically as wide. We can pick literally as much as we like.

    The larger leaves make beautiful 'roll-ups' with beef or minced chicken inside, then braised in a covered pan. But we also love the young smaller leaves lightly steamed. Slice thinly and added to soups is another delicious way to enjoy Daubenton's. Especially Taunton Dean is actually quite 'sweet' tasting - my favourite.

    Daubenton's don't flower (actually they do but very rarely and mine have never), they just grow larger. They are propagated from cuttings, that take relatively easily early in spring. The plants need to be the largest they can to get through their first winter, but after that they are very tough and take any weather.

    Definitely worthy of a spot in the garden, but can be hard to find, because they can't be raised from a packet of seeds.
    Last edited by Galina; 19-05-2016, 22:04.

  • #2
    For those interested, i have seeds of perennial flowering fertile kales, which has daubenton as one ancestors

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    • #3
      Interesting. How many years have they lasted?

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      • #4
        To my place 3 years, but i'd guess 3 more year for the original plants. Seems strongly perennial and fertile

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        • Galina
          Galina commented
          Editing a comment
          Any photos please?

      • #5
        I was surprised that the Portuguese kale is perennial as well. And it gets huge. The photo shows just one plant! I keep trimming the pathside edge or they would be even bigger. In spring they develop numerous broccoli-type flowering shoots and if left to open, they will flower white. I have taken several cuttings but don't have let them grow to seed yet. I hope we won't get a harsh winter as I have a feeling they might not stand up to really cold weather. Will have to fleece them if it comes to that. Great variety.

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        • #6
          This is one plant of Taunton Dean Daubenton kale, with purple ribs. Again, just one plant. It really has grown a lot of new leaves this autumn. The second photo shows the (slightly) smaller plant of Variegated Daubenton with its pretty yellow leaf margins.

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          • #7
            My variegated Daubenton is flowering. Haven't seen flowers before on Daubenton kale, although the perennial Portuguese Cabbage flowers every year and so does Grandpa Maycocks Collards. Now what? Should I in some form assist pollination? Presumably it won't really do much on its own, crossing with itself. Quite amazed to see flowers. Have taken cuttings just in case it flowers and then dies. I'll leave some Portuguese Cabbage flowers (normally they get harvested), maybe they will cross. Not getting my hopes up, but it's a first for me.

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            • #8
              In this very cold weather the buds still haven't opened and the Portuguese perennial kale has stopped producing more flower shoots. I hope that the buds on both will open at the same time and I can cross pollinate. IT would be great to get perennial kale seeds. 2 pictures of the variegated Daubenton kale, 2 of the Portuguese and the last of the Taunton Dean kale which does not flower and its attractive purple ribs. All kales are really getting bushy now and we are picking leaves almost daily.

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              • clumsy
                clumsy commented
                Editing a comment
                Just looking at the photos makes me want to pick those fresh leaves.

            • #9
              The weather is cold outside. Looks like a great experiment. Hope they do open at the same time. I think the weather is predicted to get warm later in the week so they might open up then. The kale looks lovely by the way. I haven't grown any for a while need to grow some this year.

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              • #10
                Yes I am pleased with them now, but they did not look so good over winter. The oldest Daubenton and one of the Portuguese are clearly in their last year and part of the plants are just sticks now. And I am propagating from cuttings too, which is the normal way for Daubentons. Thank you for wishing me well for the experiment. Worst are the 9 Star Perennial Caulis, they really did not like this winter even though I had them protected with netting. I think protected under the netting, the voles did massive damage and also the cold weather. Still there is enough for cuttings to carry on there.

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                • #11
                  Well the buds still haven't opened on the variegated Daubenton's kale, but we are now at the advanced bud stage and there was a surprise. They are going to flower yellow after all. I wondered whether they would be compatible with the white flowering Portuguese kale. I researched white flowering kales last year and found nothing, but this morning I found an online article. Happy to report that the white flowering brassica oleracea is an asiatic form and it does indeed cross readily with the yellow flowering brassica oleracea. Hope the experiment works here too. I now have several white flowers open and the yellow flower buds will hopefully flower soon. They take a very long time to get from bud to open flower. The Portuguese kale is much quicker. I have some broccoli buds on the 9 star perennial (despite near wipe-out over winter), and they are nowhere near flowering. But I am leaving them all the same as it is also a brassica oleracea just in case I get an overlap in flowering.
                  Last edited by Galina; 04-05-2018, 09:13.

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                  • #12
                    And flowering.

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                    • clumsy
                      clumsy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      That looks beautiful.

                  • #13
                    I think we are getting seed pods and the oldest pods are looking slightly lumpy. Fingers crossed.
                    Last edited by Galina; 28-05-2018, 20:56.

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                    • clumsy
                      clumsy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Definitely seed pods won't be long you'll have fresh seeds.

                  • #14
                    I'm not after seed renewal as Daubentons are traditionally propagated by cuttings, just like this plant which was a cutting that I took from the plant I got to start with from Goodlife, a member of A4A. It isn't about seed saving.

                    What makes this one different is that Daubenton's don't usually flower and they are perennial. Our usual annual kales flower, then die. They are annuals. It remains to be seen whether this one will die after flowering. The kale I have been crossing it with, Portuguese kale, is perennial despite flowering, although I do take away all flower shoots (which we eat like Sprouting Broccoli).

                    Both are only just about winter hardy, in fact I think the reason this one did flower was because it came close to perishing this winter. A cutting from the same mother plant growing in my MIL's garden (which is a lot more sheltered) did not flower.

                    It will be interesting to select more winter hardy perennial kales and flowering kales from the plants that hopefully will grow from these seeds. Our perennial kales have barely survived from when they were popular in Victorian times, and there are only 3 British types that I am aware of. I was surprised that the Portuguese kale (seed was from Heritage Seed Library) was perennial too. Clearly other countries have perennial kales in addition to the three we know about.

                    But the problem with the Portuguese kale also is hardiness. Out of all my plants from that Heritage Seed Library seed packet only one survived winter. And I have propagated from cuttings from that one plant ever since, like I do with the Daubenton kales.

                    This project (should it work) gives more variety of perennial kales. And they could be better winter survivors. I am quite convinced that the offspring will not be identical to either of the parent plants, but both parents being perennial, I hope this feature will be part of the new varieties and that some of them will be standing up to severe cold weather too. Fingers crossed that it will all go right.
                    Last edited by Galina; 29-05-2018, 11:20.

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                    • #15
                      Unfortunately the three-way cross with the 9 star perennial cauliflower as the third pollen partner did not work out, care of pigeons who ate their florets. I left them unprotected because the voles had devastated them under the cover, so now the pigeons got them. They fortunately left the others alone. Luckily I have taken cuttings of the 9 star perennial.

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                      • clumsy
                        clumsy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Always a battle with nature. The 9 star broccoli is interesting after googling about it.
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