Monday, 9 February 2009

Chou Daubenton



Chou Daubenton is the first of the perennial Kale's I will talk about and one of the more readily available perennial Brassicas.

Plants are naturally branching, and form quite a neat mound eventually attaining a size of 3ft x 3ft ('Daubenton' is actually quite attractive as Kale's go, and wouldn't look out of place in an ornamental bed).

The plants live for 5-7 years and are easily propagated by semi ripe cuttings using the usual techniques (flowering is rare and seed is not available).

So far 'Daubenton' has been less affected by pests and disease than its biennial cousins, with Woodpigeon's being a notable exception. Woodpigeon damage is however no worse than that found on other Brassicas, and can be controlled in the usual manner.

When eaten raw, as with most Kale's, there is a slightly bitter overtone during the summer, but it is very slight and I find it quite pleasant. And like other Brassicas it sweetens after frost. I would say the flavour and texture is as good as 'Ragged Jack' and only marginally inferior to Black Tuscan Kale.

Cooked 'Daubenton' is as good as the best of them, and you can harvest individual leaves, or cut the individual heads and cook them whole. My personal preference is to harvest individual leaves as it doesn't spoil the look of the plant; but they will re-sprout vigorously when the heads are harvested, so long as you don't over crop individual plants.

And if all this isn't enough to convince you that 'Daubenton' is worth growing, there is a variegated form with slightly grayer leaves and irregular yellow variegation around the leaf edges.

In all other respects it is like the non variegated form; perhaps a little less vigorous but no more so than could be expected from a variegated selection. It is a little more difficult to come by but well worth the effort.

'Daubenton' is available from Fabre-Graines (France), and PlantesPet Jardins (France), both sites are in French. You may also find other suppliers if you Google "Chou Daubenton".

You may also want to read a rather informative post on perennial Brassicas at Homegrown Goodness. Just follow the link if you want to check it out: http://alanbishop.proboards60.com/index.cgi?board=brassica&action=display&thread=1930

48 comments:

  1. I am thrilled that this blog is up and running. I have been hoping to get my hands on this perennial kale for some time now but with no luck so far. There are no suppliers that I know of in Canada. Hopefully this year. It has quite an attractive red blush on the outer leaves. Is this fall colouration or does it always have that? I've read that there is a varigated form or perhaps that was a dream.

    Looking forward to reading more!

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  2. The red blush is more pronounced now but is always there to some extent on my plants. Did you miss the third photo of the variegated form? Definately not a dream.

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  3. Great blog! I will be checking back often for more great info on perenials and new ideas for permaculture in my own garden.

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  4. Congratulations on the new blog. Should make a useful resource and I shall be reading with interest.

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  5. Nice job, Alan. I think the idea of perennial crops as subject matter addresses an extremely valuable topic for small-holders, urban farmers, and home gardeners alike. We stumbled upon the value of perennial food crops when we planted our Tuscan kale 20 month ago. Those six plants have provided a phenomenal amount of nutrition and good tasting greens for our friends and family. The original plants have grown too "leggy" to be productive enough to warrant keeping them into the spring, but the next generation (planted last summer) is well on it's way to giving us another couple of years of good production. Keep up the great work!

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  6. Will these French companies ship to the U.S.?

    Christine

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  7. Thanks for the link Glen, I'm glad you like the blog so far, it's good to know that others recognise the increasing value of perennial crops.

    By the way; I was confused as to why you called me Alan, then I realized that you thought I was Alan Bishop. I'm actually a Welsh man called Graham. I guess the link to Home Grown misled you. Not that I would object to the comparison, I have a lot of respect for what Alan is doing at Homegrown

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  8. Sorry Christine but I don't know if these companies ship to the US. I can only suggest that you email them and enquire.

    Wish I could be more help.

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  9. Graham - I'm desperate for your next posting! What'ya growing?

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  10. Top quality work! Bookmarking you now!

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  11. Graham,

    Thanks for this informative post!

    Would you be willing to enter the plant trafficking business and send some cuttings to me in the US for a king's ransom or hard labor? :D

    Seriously, I would love to acquire some for my cold climate garden.

    Thanks

    Paul

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