About Daubenton perennial kale
*UK SHIPPING ONLY, ONE PER CUSTOMER* Daubenton is a perennial kale that produces a mass of mild and nutty-flavoured leaves. There is a green type and a variegated ‘panaché type’ with a cream coloured edge to its leaves. Plants have a horizontal growing habit and are more suitable for smaller spaces as they don’t get as large as Taunton Deane kale.
Daubenton kale was first described by the French naturalist Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton – or D’Aubenton – (1716 – 1800). Once established it can be harvested for most of the year. Really productive for the first five years they slow down a little after that but have been known to reach nine or ten years old. Our oldest specimen is nine years old and still squeezing out leaves.
How to grow Daubenton perennial kale
When your plant arrives, plant it out in a deep planting hole and firm it down. It does not need a particularly well cultivated bed, just an area free of weeds and grass. Give plants an occasional mulch of compost and prune off any dead branches to keep them thriving. Prune plants to encourage new growth and remove any damaged branches. Lateral stems can flop and root themselves, part of the characteristic of these branching bush kales Brassica Oleracea var Ramosa.
How to propagate from your Daubenton perennial kale
Known to periodically flower, seed collection is possible, but they will cross with other brassicas. The best way to propagate them to ensure they are true to type is through stem cuttings (a thick side stem with all leaves removed apart from the growing tip), which can either be potted up or popped directly in the soil to root. We recommend taking cuttings once or twice a year so you always have more plants as back up.
Daubenton perennial kale – pests & diseases
Daubenton does suffer from the same pests as regular brassicas but has far greater resilience to them in our experience. You may need to protect young plants from slugs, cabbage whites and pigeons until they become established.
After a year or two they should be large enough to survive without any protection. We don’t use any crop covers with ours and although Daubenton can be attacked by cabbage whites, even the most well nibbled plants bounce back completely by autumn. We have also found that interspersed plantings of perennial kales make great companions for other brassicas – greatly reducing the damage to regular brassica crops by acting as pest beacons, whilst having the innate capacity to survive them. Perennial alliums are great companions for perennial kales in general, as they can create a nice ground cover and poke through the branches of the kale.
How to harvest and eat Daubenton perennial kale
Let your plant get to the size of a small shrub before you start harvesting. Once mature you can harvest leaves all year round. Use exactly as any other kale. It has the most delicious nutty taste. Small young leaves can be used in a salad.