This year I decided to save seeds from my new favorite kale, Beedy’s Camden. Back in the 1980′s Beedy Parker noticed a kale that was overwintering in her Camden, Maine garden. She propagated it, and made seeds available to other gardeners. Likely a relative of a Siberian kale, her kale has silvery, frilly leaves and a sweet, delightful taste.
Since kale readily cross pollinates with other members of the cabbage family, I pulled up any other Brassica plants that were blooming. I am pretty sure I was the only gardener within the recommended one mile isolation distance that had brassicas blooming this spring.
The kale was quite impressive while blooming, reaching a height of about 5 feet tall. And the bees really loved all the yellow flowers. Now the seed pods are maturing, and drying up. So I pulled the plants and started harvesting the seed pods before they got too dry and shattered, spilling out all the seeds.
There are many different ways to go about collecting the seeds. When dealing with a small amount, I generally just put the pods in a bowl and let them finish drying.
But for larger amounts like this, I needed another other method. So I cut the seed stalks off the plant, and put them in a paper sack to dry. That way the sack can catch any seeds that fall out. When the pods are dry I shake the stalks in the sack to let the seeds free. Then I pour the seeds out of the sack into a bowl.
There’s still a lot of chaff that needs to be cleaned from the seeds. I’ll do a winnowing operation on a day with light winds. But you can also use a fan to help blow away the lighter chaff. You just need to be careful and not let all the seed blow away too!
I will have seeds of Beedy’s kale to share soon, when I finished the drying and winnowing process. If anyone is interested in trying this great kale, just leave a comment or email me and I will be happy to send them out. I should have enough seeds for at least a dozen or so people. It’s hard to believe it is already time to start planning a fall garden here, and that’s when I will plant kale.
Happy growing from Happy Acres!