I've grown out Daubenton perennial kale several times and it *can* overwinter in Ottawa though I wouldn't guarantee that. It is borderline at best. I've overwintered it without protection in the city limits and with a rose cone in the country. In 2014 and 2015, I grew out seeds of Daubenton and some crosses. Now, I know what you are thinking. Daubenton doesn't produce seeds!
Daubenton kale is a perennial but is said to rarely flower. However, it does on occasion produce flower buds and from those seeds. It is Brassica oleracea so any member of that species in flower could potentially cross with it. I was lucky enough to be gifted seeds including crosses several years back. I started a selection in 2014.
Read more about the babies and the 1st year survivors.
The second year plants grew but only those with obvious 'red kale' genetics flowered for me. Promisingly they went on to produce good foliar growth during and afterwards though without the abundant side shots of Daubenton. The stem also bent down with a tuff of leaves at the top. They remind me of walking stick kale that is occasionally described as perennial in the right climate. The more true to Daubenton type are quite wide and bush like attaining similar height to those from 2015 seed. There was very little pest or foliar disease issues. I'll be interested to see how they overwinter.
2015 seed grown plants had excellent growth with green and red cross Daubenton types being the fullest. There was variation in the number of side shoots produced. Lacinato crosses were nice especially in flavour though I fear they will not be hardy.
Some of the seedlings showed puckering from the beginning and these are the ones that demonstrated heavier, decorative veining.
Daubenton (and other Brassica oleracea in my experience) are easy to propagate from cuttings hence the benefit of lots of side shoots. I've even propagated them from root cuttings as per seakale.
I'll be trimming them back rather heavily (kale chips? kale salad? everyone!) then covering them with rose cones for the winter. The survivors will hopefully seed to produce more seed to play with!
One of my favourite storage crops is the sweet potato and despite what you may have heard, they do grow well in the Ottawa area assuming you choose a short season variety and you remember that they are heat divas.
I've grown various ones in the past including Covington, Beauregard, Fraiser White, Georgia Jet, Japanese Yam, Cuban Red, Purple, Tainung 65 and Mystery. Generally speaking Georgia Jet is not only the highest yielding plant in my gardens but also most likely to flower.
Flower? Why should I care about that? Sweet potatoes are obligate out crossers meaning they require at least two genetically distinct individuals to produce seeds. As sweet potatoes are normally grown by slips, each new plant is a clone of its parent tuber. Not all sweet potatoes flower at the same time or with the same fervor. So assuming you have two different types of sweet potatoes in flower and that they are pollinated and that they have enough time to grow then - fingers crossed - you'll get seeds.
As they contain recombined genes from both parents, each seed is a surprise package.
Most of these new sweet potatoes are likely to be nothing special but… BUT… occasionally they will create a new important variety. So when both Georgia Jet and Purple started to flower, I started doing the plant breeding happy dance.
I watched. Bees visited. I waited. Flower upon flower fell off. Potential seed pod upon potential seed pod dried up. I obsessively checked every day. And...
A few started to swell with promise. We had seeds!
Cold weather loomed and I was forced to harvest but I protected my potential plant parents and their precious seed pods. Harvesting as they started to dry down.
The bare minimum of success. Next up, will any of them sprout.
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.