Siber Frill Kale
The best kale for winter salads. Starting out as a curly-edged kale when young, Siber Frill goes on to divide and curl until it makes a fluffy head of fine-cut leaves like frisee. These leaves stay tender as they enlarge, and get very sweet with cool weather. You can run a leaf through your fingers and get a pile of fine-cut elegant florets in a second. They hold dressing super-well, and their loft keeps flat baby leaves from sticking together. Most kales are only good for cooking as the leaves get to the largest sizes, but Siber Frill stays tender, sweet, and salad-ready all the way to spring. An OSSI open-source variety bred by organic farmer Jonathan Spero, who grew our seed. 60 days to full size. Brassica napus. 80 seeds
The Open Source Seed Initiative exists so that breeders who originate new varieties can protect them from exploitation and patenting by corporations. It means that the breeder has freely given up her patent rights in order to keep the variety in the public domain forever. The OSSI pledge reads: "You have the freedom to use these OSSI-pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others' use of these seeds or their derivatives, by patents or other means, and to include this pledge in any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives."
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.