There has been a lot of seed starting going on lately and if the weather continues to improve as it has been, it won't be too long before I'm working in the garden again - can't wait!
The kale & collards were next up on the seed starting schedule & I got them going a few days ago - March 15th to be exact.
|Kale & Collard Seeds|
This year, I am only growing one collard variety and no others - Beira Tronchuda (William Dam, 2014). I first tried this variety last year and yes, it was that good (see why I feel this way in my End of Season Review post). Although Beira Tronchuda is often referred to as "Portuguese kale", it is in fact a collard green. You can see that, other than in size, Beira Tronchuda looks exactly like Vates collards in the photo below:
|I grew two collard varieties last year, Beira Tronchuda (on the left) & Vates (on the right)|
Beira Tronchuda was not only a heavier producer, but also slightly sweeter
First up is a mystery variety. The packet said that it was curly kale, but what I actually got was definitely NOT curly kale.
|Mystery Kale (box store purchase - McKenzie, 2014)|
Since I didn't know what variety it was, I nicknamed it NCK (Not Curly Kale).
The next variety I'm growing, also from last year, is Red Russian kale (William Dam, 2014), which I use primarily in salads.
|Red Russian Kale|
|Photo Source: Pinetree|
Collard seeds are a good size, so these get pre-germinated. They only took 2-3 days to germinate & then 2 additional days to emerge from the soil once sown. I'm only waiting for one more to pop up.
The kale seeds were much smaller, so I decided to direct sow them, using 2 seeds per cell. It's been 4 days and I've had great germination on all of them, with at least one seedling coming up in each cell. The cell packs are now under the lights, together with the collards.
|Collard & Kale Seedlings - 5 days|
One tactic that I use to help prevent damping off is good air circulation. Last year I used an old fan that my parents dug out from storage. I think it was at least 30 or 40 years old & it had its quirks - I had it plugged into an extension cord, and if you moved it at all, the fan would stop working, so the plug had to be placed "just so".
About a month ago, as I was getting the basement ready for the upcoming season, I plugged in the fan and... nothing. It had finally bit the dust. It probably wasn't the most energy efficient fan, being from the '70's and all, so in a way I suppose that's a good thing.
|Upping the circulation in my seed starting area with a new fan|
Till next time...