I’m one of those types of people that really likes to do things for myself. Seed saving kale seeds has always been something that I wanted to try, but it seemed a little complicated and I wasn’t sure where to begin. Luckily one of my new gardening buddies that I met through the Master Gardener program is a pro at it. I took a class from him and learned the basics so I thought this year I would give it a shot.
I’m not sure how many of you will remember these kale plants from last year but we do! They overwintered with only the protection of a cloth row cover all last winter. We love Vates Kale and have grown it for several years now. But I was so impressed with how well these plants did over the winter that I figured I should let them go to seed and start saving kale seeds.
Kale is a fairly easy seed to save as long as you can keep it from cross pollinating. It does cross very easily with other kales so you need to separate it by distance or time of blooming. The distance you need to keep it separated from other blooming kale is crazy, something like 500 feet. But I’m lucky because no one else in my area grows kale in the winter. So when my kale plants finally bolted and started to flower in May I had no worries about it crossing with anyone’s plants. And at the time I only had vates kale left in the garden so there was nothing for it to cross within my yard. I also had no worries about it crossing with other plants in the same family because none of my other Cole crops were even close to flowering in May. So I’m safe, I know I will have a good seed.
So all I had to do is let it flower and let the bees do their work. The seed pods had set by early June but it took until this week for the seed pods to fully ripen and dry. I just left them on the plants until they were ready to harvest.
The seed pod is pretty cool and not what I expected. It’s long and is divided down the center. There are two rows of seeds and each mature pot contained between 15 to 30 seeds.
I had several plants that I let go to seed so I had a lot of seed pods.
It took a little experimenting to figure out the easiest way to get the seeds out. I finally settled on leaving the pods attached to the stalk and just breaking them open and letting the seeds fall to the bowl below.
We ended up with a bunch of seeds. Once I had them cleaned and stored I filled two film canisters with seeds. My guess is there are over 1000 seeds per canister. That’s a lot of kale seeds. On top of that before I got serious about harvesting the seeds I took several pods to the garden and planted two 8 foot rows for our fall crop. It turns out saving kale seeds is pretty fun and easy to do!
The seeds will last in storage for 4 or 5 years but even with that, I have way more than I will ever need.
Would you like to learn how to save your own seeds? I now have 10 years of experience saving seeds and I would love to teach you how.
I know have a course at my school that will teach you all of the basics of seed saving!
Click the image above to buy the course!