Crambe maritima. Not the common sort of kale, although somewhat similar in appearance. Sea kale is an attractive, silvery-green to purple, leathery leaved plant that grows wild on European sea shores. It is a pretty forgiving perennial vegetable. Once you have one plant, you can easily propagate it by breaking up the roots during the dormant season.
In previous years, we have offered thongs from mixed seed-grown varieties, but beginning in 2015, we have standardized on the variety Blue-green for thong production. Blue-green is the best of our seed grown varieties to date. It was produced from a cross between a seedling of Lily White and a variety grown from wild-collected seed. Plants are vigorous, early to sprout, and early to flower.
Sea kale “thongs” are short sections of root. (Ours are at least four inches long and 1/3 inch diameter.) Whenever the soil is workable, plant them vertically one to two inches deep with the thicker cut end closest to the surface of the soil and you’ll have new plants in the spring. It takes three years before you should start forcing seed-grown sea kale, but you can start the year after planting thongs.
2 thongs / $8.50
(We’ve had a few questions about whether these thongs can be cut up into shorter segments for more plants. The answer is a tentative yes. We guarantee that you will get two plants from the thongs that we send. If you cut them up, it is quite likely that you’ll get more plants, but also possible that you won’t get any, so we make no guarantees once you cut them. Success depends on your climate, your soil, and other unpredictable factors.)