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Wednesday 6 May 2015

Spis bladene Kale from Garden Organic; personal experiences in growing it.

Above may look like just any cabbages growing in a pot and overdue for planting out, however they are rather special as Madelyn and others know.  It is not a commercial variety and was not available from seed merchants.  These seeds were from the former Henry Doubleday Research Association Heritage seed catalogue, now known as;
Displaying Garden Organic logo STRAP.jpg


They are a Kale originally from Denmark called "Spis bladene" which I've grown for decades in my garden in Sussex.

 Above is Spis bladene from last year sprouting from a hard woody stem as of today.
It is left to go to seed when it grows to six feet or more.  The woody stems have been battered by winter and this week's storms, stripped bare by pigeons landing on it, their weight breaking the branches as a further onslaught.  Despite all that, it is now flowering in springtime.

 To me the flowers are rather attractive.  You can eat them just like broccoli; they are delicious.  Insects like them too and so, of course, do "cabbage white" butterflies, whose caterpillars are enjoyed by birds.
The woody stems may appear a little unsightly to a tidy gardener but please see

You could make fence posts or walking sticks from them!  

There's a thought for Gardening Clubs looking for a novel prize group for future years' Autumn shows.  How about it Wadhurst Gardening Association, Battle Floral & Horticultural Society, Ardingly Horticultural Society and Billingshurst Horticultural Society?  All of these groups have (or will have) got seed from me when they have booked me for a talk.  Please see

"If you want to keep a plant you must give it away."

And I admit that is part of my motivation for sharing these seeds.  The main point though is that if gardeners stop growing unregistered seeds they will be lost!  That is why keen gardens should think about joining Garden Organic  

These kale plants are so valuable to me that I have grown them in pots and planted out under a single Linkstake  above, covered in wire to keep the pigeons away.  Looking at the border now, I realise that this may have been a waste of time!  

Can you see in front of the wire cage and in front of the sage plant there are a half dozen self-sown Spis bladene seedlings romping away?  I expect them to out-perform my pot-grown plants in weeks.  They are a results of scattering plenty of seeds that the Green finches missed last autumn.

To all my gardening colleagues, I wish you much fun and good healthy eating from Spis bladene Kale.  Do let me know how you get on with it.

UPDATE December 2017
Information for anyone seaking public speakers, I have just released a NEW talk;
 The evolution of a formal garden to a nature reserve
Details are at

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