White Russian Kale
Outstanding flavor, combined with outstanding hardiness. Voted best tasting kale at taste tests in several parts of the country. Hardy to zone 4 for mature plants. Selected for resistance to soggy and rain-sodden winter soils, which often does more damage to crops than the cold itself. Another great open-source variety from farmer-breeder Frank Morton. Open Source pledged, OSSI variety. Brassica napus. 60 days to full size. 80 seeds
About Kale and Collards:
Very cold-hardy winter standbys, whose flavor is sweetened by frost. Very easy to grow.
Like all brassicas, these like a soil with plenty of compost and some lime (pH 6.5 to 7.) Usually sown in trays or pots and transplanted when space opens up in the garden. Transplant after there are at least 6 leaves, and before they are pot-bound. Bury up to the base of the first leaves, firm well. If the weather is hot, dry, or windy, remove the bottom pair of leaves to minimize shock.
Siberian kales are extremely cold-hardy, surviving temperatures well below zero. Their flavor is best when sweetened by frost.
Collards are actually a non-heading, cabbage, with smooth, tender leaves and a mild flavor. They don't have to be used all at once like a head of cabbage; pick leaves as needed. They are a standby for meals all year. Many folks--like my mother--only survived the Great Depression because home-grown collards were available year-round. Traditionally served with bacon and a sprinkle of vinegar in the South. The Portuguese national dish is a stew of collards, sausage, and beans. I like them lightly cooked and served cold as a winter salad, too.
Tree Collards are a unique perennial hardy in zones 8-10. It doesn't usually make seed. It has seldom been commercially available, instead gifted from neighbor to neighbor as a "passalong plant," primarily in African-American gardens. We are grateful to all those generations of gardeners who preserved it for us.
Seed-saving: Lacinato kale and collards are the same species as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi--Brassica oleracea. Siberian kales are Brassica napus, like rutabagas. Turnips and Asian greens are another species, Brassica rapa. Texel greens are Brassica carinata. All varieties within the same species will cross with each other.