Sea Kale was among Thomas Jefferson's favorite vegetables; he first planted seed of it at Monticello in 1809. Native to the seacoast of Great Britain, this hardy perennial of the cabbage family is grown for the early spring sprouts that arise from well established plants (2 to 3 years old). Sea Kale is also quite ornamental with blueish-green leaves and showy white flowers in summer. Sea Kale has a pleasing, mild cabbage taste. At Monticello the shoots are often covered with large blanching pots as they emerge in spring. When the leaves get six inches high, they are cut from the ground and can be prepared like asparagus.
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Sea Kale.
Typical Blooming Dates: May-June
Growth Type: Perennial
Blossom Color(s): White
Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Location at Monticello: Vegetable Garden
Planting Conditions: Full Sun