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 Post subject: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:49 am 
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i randomly came across a blog post that mentioned tree collards, and i'm now salivating at the thought. 6 foot tall perennial sweet tender collards? apparently they're a hybrid that's been passed from person to person via cuttings (it's different from walking stick kale. tree collards don't come true from seed, but i'm sure some industrious individual with access to an insectless greenhouse could take the seeds from this plant if it flowers and grow all the babies and let them cross and try to find the original parent plants that made the hybrid in the first place. should only take a few decades.)

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 13394.html

http://www.bountifulgardens.org/prodinf ... gOVpWTrn_Q



now my conundrum. i'm on the cusp of 7 and 6. everything i've read said that it does well in 8 and warmer, and potentially 7. (i'm afraid that i'll have a beautiful plant and grow it to maturity, and then a cold snap will kill it. i plan to grow it in a fairly sheltered area right next to the compost heap, so maybe the microclimate will be enough. as a backup, i might bring a cutting into the enclosed porch)

i'm going to put in an order to bountiful gardens. any philly peeps want to get in on it? (looks like it's about $6/cutting when you factor in shipping, but they don't guarantee that all cuttings will root. i have some 15 year old rootone that i can use to help get things going, so i have faith it'll work.) ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:12 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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I got one in the spring, so far it hasn't done much but it hasn't died either so I have faith and dreams of giving cuttings to everyone from my tree collard grove.

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:21 am 
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oh! exciting! i've read that it doesn't do much aboveground while the roots are getting situated. maybe next spring it'll start going gangbusters. keep me updated.

another perennial green i learned about yesterday is caucasian spinach. i can't find much about it's nutrition online, but it's a vine. (but i'm concerned that because it's in the amaranth/spinach family that it has too many oxalates. i shouldn't eat things with too many oxalates, and besides it makes my teeth feel funny, and it's not enjoyable.)

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:27 am 
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It might be like malabar spinach, it sounds similar because that one vines too. I started growing that one too because it's supposed to do well in the intense heat but it's really not. Hopefully in the fall it will perk up. Everything is dead or dying right now because little can survive in Texas in August :(

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:41 am 
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oh! i found the blog of the guy who posted the history in the gardenweb thread.

http://treecollards.blogspot.com/

here's the vine i was talking about. hablitzia. apparently it's the only species in the genus.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hablitzia

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:10 pm 
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I have nothing helpful to contribute, only that I watched that video myself just last week and am now obsessed with tree collards. I think he said in another video that he grows some in his bathroom (???) and his neighbors thought he was growing weed and called the cops! He's in so that kinda surprised me.

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:36 pm 
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haha! i was reading the blog at http://newworldcrops.com/ and found out about it that way. (speaking about new world crops, i am TOTALLY going to order some magic dragon potato seeds once the store opens back up. so excited!)

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:11 pm 
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Oops, I meant to write he's in* Berkeley*!

I've never heard of new world website. They've got some awesome tomato seeds!

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:26 pm 
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oooh... gonna browse that seed catalog.

i had no idea tree collards were a thing! i have some kale in the garden that has been growing really slowly for about two years - the first year, it remained seedling size during the growing season, kept growing through the (ontario) winter, and sorta developed bark (?) on the lower bit of the stem this year. now i'm just watching it to see what happens, i can dream that it will be a tree one day too!


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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:56 pm 
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oh! postnothing, it might be walking stick kale. are the leaves tasty at all? (i wonder if you've created your own cultivar. i've read that walking stick kale is rubbery and gross.) if your kale doesn't flower this year, then it's possible you have a perennial kale. usually they're biennial, and would flower in it's second year.)

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:11 am 
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the leaves taste pretty good, pleasant overall - more tender than the stuff i get at the store but also seem a lot thicker. ahh i wish i had made my own cultivar - the seed came from a packet so i can't claim any credit, haha. it must be biennial (though i have a feeling it might keep on growing for a while yet) since it flowered but is still producing leaves - not sure if that's normal or not. mostly fixated on this bark business - seems too small and twisty to be walking stick kale.


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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:27 pm 
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It's most likely just regular kale. The stem gets pretty corky-looking near the base after awhile. I have a friend who has had the same kale plants for at least 4-5 years. They flower, she cuts them off (actually she eats the tasty, unopened flower buds), and they just keep on producing. My 2nd year kale tends to get really buggy (gray aphids) by mid-June, so that's when I tear it out.

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:21 pm 
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I just wanted to add that there was a thread on collards a few years ago that was really funny! Torque was talking about taking 'pups' from collards to get new starts, and I'd never heard of that. I said I always started collards from seed, and I think she thought that was weird. I assumed she was talking about some novel variety grown only in Brazil, but now I bet she was talking about tree collards.

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:29 pm 
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ohhhhhhh! that makes a lot of sense.

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 Post subject: Re: tree collards / tree kale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:39 pm 
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you know what's really funny, is that i saw this thread, and said ohohoho, then after looking at the links realized that my collards look exactly like walking stick collards, not tree collards. So i have no frigging clue, except mine never ever go to seed, and clone themselves. I've never seen one die of old age or bolt, and in the 7 years I've lived in Brazil (!!) I have never bought collards, just kept taking clones off the plants I started with and their descendants.
Occasionally they will "clone badly" and instead of making nice big leaves will make a million little crazy clones. Those you may as well just rip out and start again. The clones take about 6 weeks to establish well. You can plant little teeny clones or big ones (i.e., cut up a large cane into pieces and stick it into the ground).

WRT to zone, I live in 9B. We do get occasional frosts, which have no impact whatsoever on the collards. When I lived in RI (zone 6) we had portuguese neighbors who had them. they did get fried in the winter, since we got pretty serious snow, but they lived late in the fall. I don't know if they kept babies overwintering inside or what.

ETA: they will grow taller than you want to reach if you let them. I tend to break the branches off when they reach about 1.5m. I will strip off the leaves for lunch, break the bare cane into maybe a 6-inch length, and plant it about halfway in the ground. I usually have about 20 plants going at the same time so that new ones can grow and others can be in full production.

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