We had a brutally hard winter in the Ottawa area with all of January and February in the -20C range. The first two weeks of January did not even have much snow cover meaning the ground froze solid though snow finally did fall in the later part of the month in enough quantity to insulate the ground.
In the fall, I decided to try an experiment. Daubenton and some of its variations like variegated Daubenton overwintered well in my city garden but did not do so in my rural garden after we moved. My experiment was to cap all the Daubenton and Daubenton cross seedlings that I grew in 2014 with rose cones. Just that, nothing else. I wanted to see if I could increase survivability simply with something cheap and easy to use.
Then the winter came to stay. It was no wimpy winter. This was a testing year.
Colour me surprised when I discovered that not only did I get good survivability from most of the Daubentons and their crosses but that the crosses with red walking kale held out exceptionally well. There was some variation too with the pure Daubenton seedlings too promising the possibility of developing hardier varieties.
So this year, I selected out from the Daubenton crosses young seedlings with interesting colour and form characteristics. Part 2 will be seeing how they fair through winter covered.
I'll also be starting various other siblings for a mass overwintering trial. The ideal would be to find a balance between seeding and perennially while improving winter hardiness.
And yes, I do have Daubenton x Lancinato and Daubenton x Red Walking Kale for sale this year. Give it a go! Just add a rose cone.
Once upon a time, there were two cabbage winter survivors in my garden: 1 solitary San Michele blush savoy and a row of Red Rock Mammoth red. I'd heard that cabbage is often self infertile or rejects its own pollen. If correct in the case of San Michele, this presented an opportunity.
The cabbage flowered, the bees buzzed, they set seed. It was beautiful weather for brassica pods and I got excellent yields saving each pod parent separately.
The following year, I sowed the hybrid affectionately named SMxRRMf1-savoypodmother and got clear indication of a hybrid. The result was not exactly like either parent but something in between. It was partially saved with deep purple veins throughout and bright green in between. It was also extremely vigorous.
I've never seen such a reliable, vigorous cabbage demonstrating hybrid vigour. I tried over wintering them. First year: failure. Second year: failure mostly though the one cabbage that survived amusingly reheaded a full sized head instead of flowering. Third year, I took cuttings, rooted them and planned on planting them out in the spring. Instead, they flowered indoors and I laboriously hand crossed them. The result: f2 seeds. And so the saga continues.
Winter 2013-2014: A tray of rooting side shoots. Same shoots flowering.
Alert! Alert! F2
Now that I know all sorts of Brassica oleracea tricks. Cuttings root easily. Those roots that look alive in the spring when you pull them? They are alive and will produce growth like the thongs of seakale. Etc…
At any rate, we begin 2015 with f2 seeds and now f2 seedlings. Looking forward to watching them grow.
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.