The seakale bed

From feeling the seakale packet, I could have sworn it was a root rather than seeds. However, it turns out to be the latter, which comes as something of a relief as I reckon that means more chance of success.

Apparently, seakale is one of Britain’s native perennial vegetables, so liked by the Victorians it is hardly to be seen these days. Now, since the name itself suggests it grows by the sea, I am intrigued to find out how well it will fare in a back garden some fifty miles from the nearest shore.

In any case, I do have a spot in the garden which both is in full sun and tends to be moist (prerequisites for seakale). I think it may be at a keyline, although I know little about these matters and have never tested the theory.

The packet says to sow in early spring and with temperatures at 21 degrees Celsius today, it would appear that I’ve missed the optimum time. That said, with temperatures dropping tomorrow, maybe not.

Another suggestion on the seed packet is that the soil is fertile – and I needed to have bokashi solids to make sure of that. (Okay, there are other ways and means but that’s another discussion – I happen to have solids in need of a long term home.) This meant digging a hole, whereupon I can across two garlic bulbils which I didn’t dig up last summer, since they were smothered by poppies.


They don’t look particularly like garlic and in the event I’ve used them like spring onions today. And now the space is ready to get those seeds in.

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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14 Responses to The seakale bed

  1. Kalamain says:

    I had never even heard of it before reading about it here… O.o

    Seems like a winter veg to me.
    Good luck with it!

  2. I have never heard of sea kale. Much less cooked it. But tonight, as I was flipping through my copy of Le Répertoire de La Cuisine by Louis Saulnier (I was looking for something different to do with potatoes). Anyway, I came across this:

    Sea Kale: Trim, tie in bundles, cooked in salt water, same process as Cardons (I have no idea what Cardons are either, but apparently you can do a lot with them).

  3. Good luck, Helen, it will be interesting to see how it fares! And tastes!

  4. mortaltree says:

    I am quite intigued to hear how maritima does for you by the sea. Eric Toensmeier, the perennial vegetable authority in The States, has catapulted the plant into what I think a grossly inflated fame. Tried growing it for years, got plants to grow from seed, but they don’t want to persist for me. It sprouted well without much cold stratification, so no need to worry about being too late. As a note, I have moved on to its near relative C. cordifolia, which grows in woodland settings and already is much more easy to grow and productive for me in this second year. I would love to see you succeed with maritima though. I look forward to your updates.

    • Helen says:

      Actually, I don’t live anywhere near the sea… I’ve just realised the distance to you might sound I’m close the coast but in fact I am about as far in land as you can get in England. That said, traditionally seakale does grow by the sea (hence the name) and because we are on an island the climate is called ‘Maritime’.

  5. mortaltree says:

    Spell-check. My apologies. I meant “species name.” Thanks for asking.

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