Seed Saving

Plants overwintered in the ground will flower the following spring, which gives you a good opportunity to save seed. Kale is usually self-incompatible and must be cross-pollinated by insects. It will cross-pollinate with any other Brassica crop (broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, collards), so only one variety should be flowering at one time.

The plants usually produce an abundance of seed and can sometimes get so top heavy they need staking to stop them falling over. The seed is produced in long pods and should be gathered when the older bottom pods begin to split open. Watch them carefully as they shatter easily when they are fully ripe. Cut the entire seed pod bearing stems and dry them in a warm place (I put small quantities in a paper grocery bag, so I don't lose any seeds). The large seeds are easily handled and cleaned. Of course it is essential that they are thoroughly dry before storage.

If you save kale seed (and you should) you will end up with a lot, especially as you should save the seed from at least 5 plants to maintain some genetic variability. This is far more than you will ever need for planting, but you can sprout some of it like alfalfa, or use it to grow micro-greens.

Seed Viability in Years: 4-6 Years

Germination Percentage: 75%