Western Front Kale
A Red Russian-type kale with the most winter-hardinessof any kale I know of. When I started in the seed world at Bountiful Gardens, this was one of the their treasures, and I am so happy to have it back! Most kales survive a lot of cold, but stay the same size until growth starts in spring. Western Front will actually continue to grow during warmish winter days. And it does not require the dry weather, snow cover, or good drainage that enable many kales to survive winter elsewhere but are so unattainable on the Pacific Coast. Here, alternating freezes and thaws, waterlogging, and warm daytime temperatures can combine to kill many kales that are extremely hardy elsewhere.
Selected by Tim Peters of Peters Seed and Research in Oregon for the most winter-proof kale available, this variety descends from the only 10% of his test plots to survive a particularly bad winter, with alternating freeze and thaw, the worst conditions for plant survival. Currently, this is being stewarded by Andrew Still and Sarah Kleeger of Adaptive seeds, with the main selection criterion still being winter-hardiness. The original plots contained Russian, Siberian, and Scotch kales, so there is some variation here, but most plants will look like Red Russian, with a few white or broadleaved plants. Some plants may develop perennial tendencies.