Kale, Russian Hunger Gap (Organic)
Brassica napus. 25 days baby, 50 days full.
Red Russian type with broader leaves, lighter red coloring and more jagged leaf edge. Very hardy and extremely rare. Possibly the most vigorous napus kale, it looks very healthy all winter. As the name suggests, bolting in the spring is weeks later than other kales, filling the hunger gap of May with excellent kale raab. Praised by Carol Deppe in her book, The Resilient Gardener, we found this variety tucked away in the seed vault at the Heritage Seed Library in England. They generously shared a little seed with us—Thanks HSL!
Seed produced by Pitchfork & Crow in Lebanon, Oregon.
As required by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Washington Crucifer Quarantine, all Brassica family seed lots have been tested and found negative for blackleg (Phoma lingam) by an approved, certified lab.
Sow indoors with good potting soil February through September. Transplant about 3-4 weeks after sprouting. In our region, kale can grow through the winter without protection, and survives best when sown in June or early July for this purpose. Alternatively, direct sow March through September.
To maintain genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding, collect seeds from 10 or more plants of B. napus varieties, or 30 or more plants of B. oleracea. Cut seed heads when pods are dry, place on tarp, thresh by hand or by dancing. Winnow and screen to clean. Isolate from other Brassicas of the same species by ½ mile.
katieuppi (verified owner) –
Where did you grow this variety? Oregon
This variety was a real standout in my Fall/Winter garden. It’s a very vigorous and robust plant, and it’s a lovely flavor and texture. I really appreciate the broadness of the leaves. I feel like we got more consumable product compared to smaller leaved Russian kale varieties for the same amount of real estate in my garden’s footprint.
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garden cat (verified owner) –
Where did you grow this variety? Washington
As noted, this has been slower to bolt than the other kale I grew in my Seattle garden. I sowed too late for any fall harvests, but we are now harvesting small and medium leaves for salads. Tasty and happy that despite sowing too late for fall and most of winter harvesting, we are still able to enjoy this. A keeper, I think, that I will grow in the future (and sow earlier)!
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