This work including original photographs may be transmitted
or stored in electronic form on any computer attached to the Internet
or World Wide Web so long as credit is given to liseed.org and is
included in the copy. Individuals may make single copies for their own
use. All other rights are reserved.
No, it's perfectly dry- even though it looks wet. This is the Greasy
Collard that we've been growing since 1983. We came across the seed in
an old farm and hardware store in Alabama where the seed was still
being scooped by the tablespoon out of small wooden drawers. A year
later the only wholesale supplier of the Greasy Collard dropped the
line and it was suddenly out of commerce without warning. USDA
researchers had done some preliminary studies that indicated that the
abnormal waxy cuticle covering the leaves of the Greasy Collard had the
ability to dramatically lower pest damage. Usually the waxy leaf
coating of collards, like cabbages have a dull waxy surface.
Greasy Collards has the glossy leaf trait. One of the researchers
contacted us in 1986 to see whether we had the variety. Fortunately, we
had produced several ounces of seed from overwintered plants that
summer and sent the researchers the seed they needed. We don't know
what the results of their experiments but we do know that they were
interested in incorporating the "glossy leaf trait" into other members
of the Brassica family. A good idea. If one could succeed in doing
that, it would be a coup for organic farmers especially.
We raised a nice seed crop from plants that were mulched heavily in
leaves and overwintered. Collards are capable of producing a huge
amount of seed. You should try it.
Dr. Jeff McCormick, the founder of Southern Exposure Seeds also kept
seeds of Southern Greasy and over the years developed a possible
different breeding line that exhibited off-types. Since the
"greasy-leaf" trait is recessive, it can easily be lost when "Greasy"
receives stray pollen from any brassica that is in bloom at the same
time. Jeff managed to rogue out the off types and managed to
restore the purity of "Greasy". Southern Exposure Seeds is a good
source of heirlooms from the South and should be checked out as a
source of unique varieties.
1. F1 Hybrid parent kales and 2. F2 generation from a mass cross
of the two popular kales
Kales and collards are just cabbages that never form heads- and brussel
sprouts are just miniature cabbages. They are all in the same family
and as members of the same species within the same family, they are
able to cross pollinate with one another. While that might lead to the
development of some very interesting varieties, it also could reduce
the quality of some fine old varieties. When you are contemplating
raising part of your brassica crop for seed- you have to make the
decision to isolate or not. It's not as simple as that, because;
essentially, most brassicas have the ability to cross (with varying
degrees of success) with one another if they are in bloom at the same
time. We don't see a lot of brassica oddities though because Cabbage,
Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts are biennials. If they manage to
escape consumption the first year then they have to overwinter
successfully. They take quite a bit of space and time to produce their
seed stalks the next summer and by that time the gardener had probably
tilled them under!
Toscan Kale really comes into it's own come fall. The plants are
towering- nearly three feet and full of the savoyed lanceolate almost
black leaves. People stop and stare at our row of Toscan Kale also
known as Italian Kale. Black Kale, Dinosaur Kale and Lacinado Blue Kale
are all variations. It's a different kind of kale to what most of us
are used to. I find it one of the most vigorous. I break off a few of
long leaves from each of several plants when I want to cook up a pot of
kale. And the flavor, you couldn't ask for anything better during those
early winter suppers.
<>The very fringed and curled "Scotch" kales, show some of their
inherent genetic diversity, bluegreen, blue, reds and deep greens.
Collards are a bit plain but the varieties of Kales are on the rise as
tall growing and short varieties as well "Russian" kinds, ornamental
and heirlooms are being hybridized and selected for by a new wave of
independent breeders. Their beauty is often found garnishing a plate or
the salad bar, but what a pity- their hidden beauty is in the
storehouse of vitamins and nutrients a plate of these hold for the
connoisseur of cooked "greens".