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Hello. I haven't ordered yet as I am waiting until I move but I really enjoyed looking at your site and the descriptions of the plants. Your ad in the newspaper made me smile: "Grape vines, not silly twigs!" Looking forward to ordering lots from you once I am settled.
Michele Haynes, Leicester

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Sea Kale Seed 'Lillywhite'

Image of seakale
Image of seakale
Image of Seakale
Image of Seakale
Image of forcing Seakale
Image of forcing Seakale
Image of Seakale
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Image of Seakale
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seakale 004
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Crambe maritima 'Lillywhite'

  • Often found growing by the sea.
  • A very old vegetable that pre-dates Victorian times.
  • Once established plants can crop for 5-7 years.

Supplied as a packet of approximately 10 seeds.

This Product is Available Now.

GBP1 or more £3.25 each
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This vegetable long predates Victorian times and was once most popular. The blanched shoots, young flower heads and very young leaves can be eaten raw or the leaf midribs cooked and eaten like Asparagus; forced Seakale is also a real delicacy.

As the name implies, these are often found growing near the sea on beaches, cliffs and rocks and are tolerant of both salt air and drought.

If you have an exposed area of the garden where little else will grow consider Seakale as it will happily colonise it and turn non-productive ground into productive ground.

  • Seakale seed has a corky outside layer which allows it to float at sea for several years and so germination can be slow.
  • Soak seed in a bowl of fresh water for at least 24 hours.
  • Sow 1" (2.5 cm) deep in trays of moist compost and keep well watered.
  • After germination transplant into modules or small pots and grow on under protection.
  • When plants are 2-3" (5-7.5 cm) tall set out 2 feet (60 cm) apart in rows 2 feet (60 cm) apart.
  • Sow seed 1" deep in trays of moist compost.
  • Seakale is a close relative to Brassicas so avoid planting in soil infected with clubroot.
  • Grow as you would cabbages cleaning up any dead or damaged foliage as required.
  • Do not start forcing plants until their third full growing season.
  • Plants will deteriorate and need replacing after 5-7 years of cropping (ie approximately ten years from when first started).
  • Forcing Seakale
  • Seakale can be forced and blanched where it has grown (meaning the same plants can be used for several years) or can be lifted and forced in warmer conditions (resulting in the plants being discarded after forcing); forcing in situ is therefore the most practical way.
  • Forcing In Situ
  • Any time after the leaves have died right back, from Autumn until January clear away the old leaf debris.
  • Cover the crowns with about 3" (7.5 cm) of dry leaves which will help to insulate the crown.
  • Now cover the individual crowns with buckets or similar - traditional clay seakale forcing pots are perfect but virtually impossible to find! Whatever you use they should be around 12" (30 cm) in diameter and at least 15" (37.5 cm) tall and must completely exclude the light.Ensure they are firmly held down so they do not blow away.
  • Shoots are usually ready for cutting within about 3 months and ideally should be 4-8" (10-20 cm) long when cut. Use a sharp knife to cut them low down with a little piece of root attached.
  • Stop cutting in May and uncover plants allowing them to re-grow.
  • They can then be forced again the following season.
  • Forcing Indoors
  • Dig up the crowns after the first frost.
  • Pot up into gritty compost or pack into boxes or crates and place in a greenhouse or cool room.
  • Exclude all light with buckets, up-turned pots or similar.
  • Cut shoots as they appear, ideally at about 4-8" (10-20 cm) long.
  • At the end of the sason you will probably need to dispose of the plants.
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