Taunton Deane kale (Brassica oleracea var Acephala) a very old variety of perennial kale that keeps growing for years giving a tasty supply of greens all year round. It is also known as cottager’s kale and would have been common in vegetable gardens up until Victorian times. Plants can grow more than two metres tall and wide and are very hardy. Being perennials they withstand pests very well, survive all kinds of weather and have a flourish of new growth each spring and summer. They are extremely nutritious as they have many years to accumulate minerals and have a great flavour and are tender enough to eat raw.
How to make cuttings from your Daubenton’s & Taunton Deane kale
You can make new plants really easily by pinching off side shoots that have knobbly ridges on the stem. Put into a pot of compost, remove any larger leaves leaving the growing tips and within a week or two the plant will have perked up and be happily growing. You can also put cuttings straight into the ground with two thirds of the stem below the surface of the soil. These plants are truly amazing, the cuttings seem to have some special properties producing roots really quickly. We make cuttings from October through to May – these are fantastic plants to add to your veg garden to give you another green leafy vegetable to eat without any work at all.
We also grow another perennial kale called Daubenton’s (Brassica oleracea var Ramosa) which has much more of a horizontal habit and doesn’t grow as large as the Taunton Deane. Both varieties do on rare occasions set seed, but propagating vegetatively from cuttings ensures that you keep the true characteristics of the varieties. This lovely photo of Daubenton’s and a variegated variety of Daubenton’s was sent to me by the wonderful Stephen Barstow ( you must check out his blog edimentals.com and also his fantastic Around the world in 80 plants book which was published earlier this year). We have both varieties of the Daubenton’s kale growing in our vegetable garden. Daubenton’s makes fantastic crispy kale ( shred, toss in toasted sesame oil and sea salt, hot oven 5-10 mins) divine! It is one of our winter staples.