...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


harvesting kale seeds

I planted some wild kale mix from The Cook's Garden towards the very end of the summer last year.
It grew enough that we managed to harvest a little before winter 
(it was the sweetest, most tender kale we had ever had!), 
but then winter came and that was that...  boo hoo, kale covered in snow.  

The strains I have are definitely hardy; they overwintered beautifully 
and started growing like gangbusters this spring, 
although the kale never got very leafy -- it mostly got very tall very fast.  

Before I knew it, it had bolted! 
First, some beautiful tender and delicious kale flowers 
(which I forgot to take pictures of, but maybe next year!) and then these amazing seed pods: 

 I gathered a handful from different looking plant stalks so I could save some seed for next season

Saving seeds that you grew in your garden improves the strain because 
the seed has grown and adapted to your particular soil and micro-climate.  
(Not to mention that saving seed saves money.)

 The pods were so juicy and lush.  I spread them out and let them dry for a few days.

 Soon they looked like ethereal ghosts of themselves.

 Once they're dry enough, getting the seed is easy and fun.
There are two sides with seed inside the pod, separated by a thin membrane.

 I found it best to harvest over a bowl, because the more dry the pod is, 
the more the seeds eagerly pop right out at you and all over the place.

You can also let your seed pods dry while still on the stalk...
I did a little bit of both.
I harvested a whole bucket full of pods that I'm letting dry 
so I'll also have a bunch of extra seed.  
The idea is to grow micro-greens in a cold frame,
and to also extend the growing season and try to grow kale earlier and later into the year...

No matter which way you dry, you'll have a nice pile of compost
 plenty of seeds for next year!

I tossed some pods to the chickens to see if they were interested...

They were definitely curious about them, but couldn't quite figure them out.
I'll have to wait and see what happens when these when these freshly harvested pods dry out a little bit more and they can peck them open... 

Kale seeds are about the size of a grain of quinoa, and they loooooove quinoa,
so maybe they'll love kale seeds, too!

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