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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:04 pm
Location: Olympia, WA

old kale plants question

I have several kale plants still growing from last year. I have been enjoying the kale leaves in my green smoothies. The tops of the plants have begun sprouting flowers. Should I snip them off or allow them to keep growing? Will new leaves replace the ones I have snipped off? Thank you.

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Posts: 30647
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Kale will go to seed in the 2nd year and once that happens, I don't think they are so good for harvesting (large) leaves though you can continue to pick off young small leaves. But you CAN eat the flower buds (kind of like brocco sprouts/raab) and the flowers, and young seed pods, and eventually harvest seeds from what you allow to mature and dry.

Here's a thread I posted on the blooms:
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 00#p255500

If you let the dried seed pods shatter in the garden, you will have more volunteer kale seedlings next spring than you'll know what to do with (trust me, I know :lol: )

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Kale is bountiful with its seeds; actually, most veggies are, once you let selected plants complete their life cycle. It's pretty astounding. Hundreds of seeds, at least, from one plant. :o

The kale stems become quite thick and woody. Once you decide to remove the plants, ask around for a rabbit rescue organization, or inquire as to whether the local humane society accepts rabbits for rehoming (mine only deal with cats and dogs). There are two bunny rescues within a 10-minute drive of my house, and they *love* getting organic kale stems/trunks. (Mine are approx. 3 cm / 1.5" in diameter when I pull them.) I cut them into 20 cm / 8" lengths, wash them off briefly (= rinse with hose), and take them to the rescue.

Rabbit chew toys! Yummmmm! :D

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:04 pm
Location: Olympia, WA

I agree that the kale blooms are quite pretty. This morning I snipped all of the flowers and their branches off and put the pretty stems in a pot. I was hoping the the small kale leaves would grow larger by pruning the flower branches. I use a Vitamix for my kale smoothies. Would the flowers and their stems taste good in a smoothie? Maybe I will experiment with them. Thanks for your helpful responses.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7447
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Price of seed what it is today, it may be good to let a few flowers mature and go for next years seed.

Be careful with this though as someone mentioned you gets lots of seed from one plant and the seed, if scattered on the garden, can be like a big crop of weeds next year.

Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:24 am
Location: AZ, zone 9

Good advice Jal! And yes, they will scatter in the wind and end up everywhere
Good luck!

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