winterbor kale seems to be in VERY short supply this year

laceyvail(6A, WV)February 16, 2014

I ordered some from Fedco, but they were unable to supply it. So I tried Johnny's--submitting a second order for just the one seed packet, an expensive proposition--and they couldn't supply it either. They sent me a variety I've never heard of--can't remember now what it was-- and I'm done with placing orders for single packets of seed. I guess I'll just go with what Johnny's sent.

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glib(5.5)

My guess is that there is a kale bubble. I noticed already last year when a guy at the farmer market told me he was selling his kale by 8:30. He told me he would triple it for next year (this year). So it is the farmer market crowd that is cleaning the shelves, and winterbor is the standard for the market.

People think that kale is healthy (and somehow collards, lacinato and turnip greens are not as healthy). They put it in smoothies (ugh). It is one of the paleo-approved vegetables, and those who follow the diet tend to be youngsters who pump iron and want clear recipes for building bigger muscles and pumping more iron.

Sure, kale has twice the lutein and zeaxanthin as everything else, but it has less of other things than collards (calcium, for example), and overall probably less nutrition. Also, it is much more sensitive to black rot, and less easy to harvest when frozen, so I prefer to grow collards.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:51AM
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elisa_z5

"kale bubble" --- LOL!

My brother and sister-in-law bought a "bullit" for my mom -- something to make smoothies in. Then they bought her PILES of kale for her to make smoothies. I had to go over and make soup so she could use it :)

FYI, if you need Green Mountain seed potatoes, they seem to have failed all over the east, and are only available from Ronniger Potato Farm.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:49AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Not sure if this plays into it or not, but kale is "hot" in the food industry right now. It has been mentioned in multiple industry magazines my husband recieves at the restaurant. I was already ahead of the curve there, and have been supplying him with some fresh kale for a couple of years. :) So maybe it is like glib suggests.

Btw, some kale added to the juicer when making fresh juice doesn't taste the way you would imagine. It actually brings the flavor towards nuetral, which can be helpful if your juice is tasting too acidic. Not that I do it too often, but in early winter there was a lot of kale on hand...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:49AM
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shuffles_gw

No one here has mentioned kale chips. They have become very popular. Some are saying kohlrabi is going to be the new "it" vegetable. I was surprised when my teenage granddaughter asked me if she could please have some kale to take home. This year I am growing a variety called Pentland Brig. Very tasty.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:27PM
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woohooman

lacey: I found some starts at walmart.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:14PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

I was thinking kale chips as well. I've been hearing about them a lot the past year.

Rodney

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:38PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Interesting ideas, but other kale varieties don't seem to be hard to find--and I placed my orders in early January.

I grow kale as a fall crop (direct sow it under row covers in mid July). After enjoying it all fall, Winterbor almost always overwinters for me (not this year with the Polar Vortex, etc) and by this time in late winter it starts to flush new little leaves from the nodes on the stem where the old leaves were. Eventually this young growth produces little broccoli like heads. The entire new growth is so delicious and provides my earliest garden produce. I'm not sure this new kale that Johnny's sent is likely to overwinter, assuming we have a normal winter next year. But I'll plant it because I'm not going to spend anymore money on the project.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 4:05PM
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glib(5.5)

There are two russian types (more deeply lobed leaves, one red, one green) and they are probably more cold tolerant than Winterbor. Winterbor is just very productive, large leaves, the type of kale that people expect, sort of the beefsteak tomato of kales. Now that I think of it, I have a new large packet of the russian varieties too, and I finished a large packet of winterbor last year.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:19PM
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stuffradio

You can buy some here, but most sizes are sold out. http://www.westcoastseeds.com/productdetail/Vegetable-Seeds/Kale-and-Collards/Winterbor/#sthash.052JZsBO.dpbs

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 2:00AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

glib, what are the variety names of the Russian kales you mention and who carries them?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:24AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Lacey, I think the russian varieties are just called red russian and white russian. I like them a lot. They stay more mildly flavored as spring turns into summer. Mine didn't make it through the polar vortex too well, though. The ones in the tunnel may put out some spring growth, but the ones in the garden I think are toast. But this was unusually cold. Johnnys carries them, as does Pinetree and Territorial, and probably others also have seed. I don't see seed for my next-favorite kale very often- dwarf blue curled scotch. What variety did Johnnys send you as a replacement?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:34AM
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glib(5.5)

what sunni said. I got them from Gourmet seeds or Johnny for sure.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 5:51PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

The kale Johnny's sent is called Green Afro. Never heard of it and it's not in the catalog.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 6:09AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I hadn't heard of it either, so I just had to go look it up! :) Here's what they say about it:

"Green Afro is an open-pollinated kale with good uniformity. Dwarf, avg. 12-14" high, with curled leaves and excellent cold tolerance. "

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:33AM
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glib(5.5)

You can not really go wrong anyway. All kales I have tried overwinter here, even without cover, and it is colder than in VA. With cover, you can pick it through the winter.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 4:54PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I know, this may be sacrilege, but I have picked up red Russian and the dwarf blue scotch at Wal-Mart. Not sure if it is there this year but that is where my supple came from in the past (Ferry Morse seeds I believe).

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:09PM
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woohooman

tishtosh: Walmart has an excellent supply of seeds early in the season. What I hate is they take everything away in the fall for holiday crap. Where I'm at, gardening is a year round thing.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:49PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Just for the record, I'm in West Virginia, not Virginia. And it's a good deal colder here.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:54AM
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pnbrown

FWIW, the "russian" kales are B.Napus, while most other varieties that go by the common name of kale are B. Oleracea. Part of why russian kale naturalizes so well is this difference which prevents it from getting easily crossed with various weedy species unlike oleracea cultivars.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:02AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Glad I ordered a 1/2 pound of seed last fall and have it sitting in my seed storage. I wasn't able to use it late last fall for winter production, ran out of time and space, so I will be planting it this spring.

This post was edited by jrslick on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 12:07

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:02PM
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elisa_z5

I have found Winterbor to be much more cold tolerant than Red Russian.
Also WV here, and Red Russian dies every year, while Winterbor and Beedy's Camden Kale both last for years.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:04PM
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ntflynn

I am in San Diego and my neighbor has been growing it for 3 years....they look like mini palm trees now. I asked him for some seed and he said he has never seen seed pods in the 3 years he's had it....maybe that is why it isn't available? I have no idea. Is it possible to get a cutting and it would root?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 11:35AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Seed appears after it winters over on flushes of growth with small broccoli like heads. However, Winterbor is a hybrid, so seed won't produce plants like the hybrid.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 1:36PM
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