About Taunton Deane perennial kale
*UK SHIPPING ONLY, ONE PER CUSTOMER* Taunton Deane also known as cottager’s kale. The name Cottager’s or Crofter’s Kale is a reference to its everyday use by ordinary folk for centuries. ‘Taunton Deane’ is local to the Somerset area in the UK and has probably been in cultivation by local people there for well over 100yrs. These plants grow huge (up to 2m tall and 2m wide with a woody trunk. They produce the best tasting tender leaves, and once established 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.
How to grow Taunton Deane 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. We grow some of ours as an edible wind break on the edge of the vegetable garden. Give plants an occasional mulch of compost and prune off any dead branches to keep them thriving. You can prune plants to stop them becoming too large if you have limited space.
How to propagate from your Taunton Deane 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.
Taunton Deane perennial kale – pests & diseases
Taunton Deane 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 Taunton Deane 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 – greatly reducing the damage to regular brassica crops by acting as pest beacons, whilst having the innate capacity to survive them.
How to harvest and eat Taunton Deane 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 and surprisingly tender considering the size of the plants.