Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ragged Jack Kale

aka Red Russian Kale. If you read through my previous posts you'll find that most greens (Brassicas) just don't grow very well in my garden. The outstanding exception is Ragged Jack kale. I transplanted this beauty to my garden in March 2010 and it provided greens from May to November. When I returned to my garden in March 2011 it was beginning new growth and now is covered with flowers and maturing seed pods.

Thanks to Carol Deppe and Susan Ashworth I know Siberian kale is Brassica napus and unlike most Brassicas it is an inbreeder like beans and tomatoes. In other words I can save seeds from just one outstanding plant. There are thousands of seeds forming and I'll offer some in trade or for a SASE at my favorite garden site,

I checked the nutritional profile and found it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and proteins; one of the most nutritious of the very nutritious Brassicas.

This is a beautiful plant and I enjoy sitting in my garden lounge chair and just looking at it.


Robert said...

Is it definitely the same as Red Russian? I can get seed of the latter variety, but I'm not certain of Ragged Jack. I might get it; someone tried to send me a couple of plants recently, but they went astray in the post. Alternatively, it might come up in the HSL catalogue.

Robert said...

Have you come across the perennial kales, incidentally? If biennial kale does well with you, I imagine they would as well. I'm just starting to experiment with them.

woodsy_gardener said...

Robert, the seed pack I got from Baker Creek called it: Red Russian (also called Ragged Jack). I prefer 'Ragged Jack' as it's more descriptive; a little insect damage and it gets ragged.

Those kales are B. oleraecae (sp?) the same species as broccoli, collards, etc.; none of which have grown well for me.

Robert said...

Same species, but they're very diverse! Ragged Jack's an interesting one as some early sources suggest it was once perennial, but was reselected in the 19th Century. I've never heard of anyone finding any sign of perennial tendencies nowadays, but if you do find a plant which grows again after flowering, it would be interesting to hear about it!