... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Glossy Kale-ards

Sad looking right now, but I think they'll rebound when Spring comes. The encouraging parts are that they're showing quite a bit of variability and at least that one purplish one (at the bottom) is about as happy as the weedy mustard (bottom right). These are glossy leaf selections descended from a mixture of Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale, Green Glaze Collard Greens, and an ornamental purple/red cabbage/kale. In 2010, I interbred this population with Tuscan kale. Now with all this variability to work with, I need to do a large planting and really start to put some heavy selective pressures on them (for winter-hardiness, insect resistance, etc.) The latest insect plague has been Harlequin bugs. Seeing the damge that they've done, it sure would be nice to select for more resistance to those.

Winter Small Grains

Just a little comparison of the damage suffered after being frozen for extended periods of time without any snow cover. Keep in mind that the rye was planted very thinly and the 'Black Emmer' more thickly than the rest but even so here's how I would rank these five (best to worst cold tolerance)... rye was best as expected; Smooth Awnless Club and Black Emmer both did remarkably well; Hull-Less Barley and Kamut suffered quite a bit, as expected (since these seem to be more often grown as Spring sown crops).