They are best kept on the plant until you are ready to eat them. I would add, however, that I eat the leaves throughout the season just as I would an ordinary kale – without blanching. Sea kale likes light, well-drained soils. Would this be of interest? As with sea kale, seeds should be shelled before stratification or sowing. C. juncea was once considered to be part of C. orientalis. This coastal plant is becoming increasingly scarce, but is still found in parts of the UK and Ireland as well as on the coasts of many northern European countries. Really enjoy this site, so informative and you can tell you really know your stuff. Hey Fred. Thanks for the comment. Crambe maritima is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in). In fact, the tender shoots are … Like the regular kale, sea kale is also perfectly edible, and is sometimes known as sea cabbage, as it comes from the Brassicaceae family. Traditionally, the roots are the most commonly consumed part. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies. In it’s native environment (European seashores) it often grows in gravel or shingle, sometimes over clay or sand (Scott 1958). Whether this is genetic or a consequence of less than ideal conditions, I am not sure. I would be interested in collecting and preserving any lighthouse sea kales that still exist. Perhaps I have a particularly mild variety or maybe more of a taste for Kale than some. Otherwise, consider lifting the crowns or taking thongs in fall and storing them over the winter. How many you grow in a pot will determine how often you need to transplant them, but probably doesn’t matter otherwise. I may be a little slow but, when in the second year, I understand to leave the plant alone until cropping stems in the third year. Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - External links policy. Cover, water in, and wait. Some of the raw roots do taste of horseradish, particularly if the plants haven’t been frosted, but this may be a result of confusion with C. orientalis or hybridization between the two. Most varieties of sea kale are tetraploid and therefore are not true breeding. There is a great deal of insect interest in the flowers, so cross pollination can be achieved without the need for human intervention. There exist many aeonium hybrids. The unopened florets might be my favorite part and I think that there is good potential for selecting sea kales that can be used as a kind of perennial broccoli. Sea kale is available both as seed and as root cuttings, known as thongs. In eastern Europe, roots have reportedly been canned and used as a radish substitute. That said, sea kale is usually not particularly difficult to germinate. Plants with stronger dormancy would sprout later, extending the season without exhausting the plants. A great website. In a rainy environment with well draining soils, it can handle a lot of salt spray, but it is probably not a good candidate for regular watering from brackish sources, much less full strength sea water (de Vos 2010). You can increase the germination percentage by stratifying under cold and wet conditions for 30 days, followed by sowing in pots at about 70° F (21 C) day and 55° F (13 C) night. The flowers have four white petals and appear in clusters from June until August. Sea Kale leaves resemble a thick healthy collard leaf, steam to eat. Can you tell me, please, if Crambe tataria was cultivated in Europe? I grow it in a bed built up from neutral soils, rather than in our native, highly acidic soil. Along with that, foragers are harvesting wild sea kale and selling it to London restaurants, receiving about $10 per pound. The silver-grey, deeply lobed leaves grow in a rosette pattern and have fleshy waved-edges with a velvety texture. Dig a hole deep enough for the thong to stand vertically in the soil with the top (thickest) end one to two inches below the surface. Subsequent watering should be done only with fresh water. The limited growing season makes them more special. Most informative and highly useful. Other than possibly storing some roots in the refrigerator for eating, there is little reason to try to store any of the products of sea kale. This rare, perennial cabbage-like kale is a versatile addition to any garden. In English sources, they are usually described as having a mild rutabaga-like flavor when cooked. There is nothing that you can do for them; they’re goners. Thongs give you a year head start – they are like having a second year plant. Mr. Whitson, great website. The trouble arose because sea kale was a popular vegetable for Victorians, who forced the shoots by piling sand and stones around the plants so they could harvest them for market. Flowering occurs here primarily in May and June. Thanks for an incredibly detailed site. This may be a useful technique for germinating old seed. Sea kale (Crambe maritima) is a member of the brassica family and native to Britain. I have eaten a small portion of the leaves without ill effects, but I don’t recommend that you try it until better evidence is uncovered. How do you create 150% salt water? The sizable price is a contribution to this conversation effort, thank you. Many rules have been proposed for how many times you can repeat the blanching process. If so we are sure you would find our books Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales, vols 1 to 4, by Sue Parker and Pat O'Reilly very useful too. Optimum spacing appears to be about 2 feet on three foot row spacing. I know of no preservation methods for sea kale products and can’t really think of any that I would want to see preserved either. Sea kale can tolerate salty soils and is cultivated for its leaves and shoots which are edible. Wind pollination does not appear to be a problem with sea kale. If you give it a large container and you dig it to prune the roots each year, it can work, but the plant will never be as productive as a plant grown in the ground. Its wavy blue-gray leaves add color to an all-season garden while its fragrant blossoms attracts pollinators (and our trial gardener!) To do this, put a dark colored bucket or similar light-proof container over the crown of the dormant plant in early spring. In the garden, plants are typically much smaller due to continual harvest of new shoots and occasional division of the plants. If the soil is workable, you can plant sea kale thongs. Seed pods are edible while they are still green. If you have plenty of seed, it will be easier to direct sow them in the spring as soon as the soil warms up to about 45° F. I remove the pericarp (corky shell) from the seeds, which improves germination both because water can reach the seed more easily and because it eliminates the frequent empty shells. Sea kale plants grow large in size and form clumps of spreading leaves, averaging sixty centimeters in diameter and seventy-five centimeters in height. Sea kale has naturalized at a few beaches along the west coast of the USA, mostly near lighthouses. If you wait too long, an entire seed crop can tumble away in high winds. The Yaquina Head population is well documented, first reported in 1915 (Nelson 1918). There is considerable disagreement about how the roots are suppoed to taste. Varieties that produce taller sprouts would also be nice. Timing will vary with climate, but you should see them forming in spring. Some people have suggested that larger capsules are more likely to be full, but I have not observed this to be true. When not killed by cold weather, the plants naturally senesce in fall or early winter to sprout again in the spring. Some sources recommend stratifying sea kale seeds, but I have seen little difference in germination between fresh and stratified seed. In my experience, this species is not reliably perennial; some plants are biennial. Wind seems to cause it little problem. A bacterial stem rot is widely reported, particularly in plants grown in garden soils, although it appears to be primarily a cosmetic concern as plants continue to yield well (Scott 1958). Nutritional values for leaves are probably not too different from shoots, but florets and roots aren’t likely to be comparable.