[permaculture] perennial kale in Houston?

Mathew Waehner waehner at gmail.com
Sun Nov 1 18:26:01 EST 2009


New Zealand spinach should be perennial here in the South, but I haven't
tried it.

Malabar spinach is killed by frost, but it loves heat and grows on ten foot
vines.  A couple malabar spinach plants have kept my family in greens all
summer.  I haven't given them any care other than planting seeds and compost
in Spring  They easily overwhelm weeds, and they love to grow under
Jerusalem's artichokes.  They're easy to harvest too- you just cut a few
feet of vine and bring it indoors.

Swiss chard and turnip greens are easy to grow in the cool season, and
because of their storage roots they rebound after being killed by frost.
Chard will also rebound in fall after being killed by summer heat.

I believe that by managing these annuals and biennials as cut- and- come
again crops, we can grow greens with only slightly more labor and soil
disturbance than perennials.



On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 5:36 AM, <yarrow at sfo.com> wrote:

> >On Nov 1, 2009, at 4:09 AM, yarrow at sfo.com wrote:
> >>  Is anyone in the south growing perennial kale (aka tree collards)
> >>  successfully?
> At 4:29 PM -0500 11/1/09, Brandy Davis wrote:
> >My neighbor had what she thought was "plain ol' kale" last through the
> >winter her in Chattanooga.  It did sorta look like a tree.  I'm having
> >good luck with Arugula self seeding.
> >>  _______________________________________________
>
> I've kept many "annual" kales for at least 2-3 years by limiting the
> number of flower heads that can go to seed (eating them!).
>
> I was excited about the description of Western Front perennial kale
> in the book Perennial Vegetables by Toensmeier, but when I searched
> for it online, the one source I found described it as a selection of
> mostly Red Russian kale that will live about 3 years. Seeds were
> collected from the 10 percent of seedlings that survived cold
> winters. Has anyone tried Western Front?
>
> Anyway, the perennial kale I have gets purpler in cooler months and
> hasn't produced any flowers at all in the 4-5 years or so I've been
> growing it. Cuttings I planted last fall quickly grew to 5-6 ft.
> high, and the plant loves to sprawl if allowed to.
>
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