Lily White Seakale
A perennial and very ornamental,
with sculptural blue-green leaves and flowers that draw beneficial insects with a scent of honey.
It likes good, rich, deep soil with lime and good drainage. Full sun on the coast, part shade elsewhere. Colder than zone 6, it needs winter protection. (Can be dug and stored in damp sand indoors.)
In very early spring, the young shoots are blanched under a box for first-early vegetables.
BOTANICAL NAME: Crambe maritima
GROWING INSTRUCTIONS: For better germination, carefully remove the corky outer shell before planting, or carefully score it. Start in a flat or pots in a spot with shade or during cool weather. Will take at least a month to sprout. When it has several true leaves, transplant them to their permanent position. Takes two years to mature. Harvest mature plants by placing a pot or box over the plant in late winter so that the new shoots are blanched and elongated. Stop harvesting in late spring; remove box.
GROW BIOINTENSIVE® CULTURAL INFORMATION: W/Matures 2 years/Harvest 6/Yield 80-150/Spacing 30"
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION :Perennial
The edible portion of this delicacy are the sprouts of early spring growth which are etiolated (deprived of light and blanched as with chicory and asparagus). Etiolated sprouts can be eaten either raw or boiled like asparagus (4 minute boiling time). The flavor of young rosettes resembles that of cabbage with a fine hazel taste. Peeling is unnecessary before boiling, making seakale a ready-to-eat vegetable.
Under the climatic conditions of northern France, the development cycle of seakale is similar to rhubarb. It likes good, rich, deep soil and an open and sunny position with plenty of compost, lime and manure. Colder than zone 6, it needs winter protection, mulches and possibly Reemay. Can be dug and stored in damp sand indoors.
The shoots are served like asparagus: steamed, with either a béchamel sauce or melted butter, salt and pepper. It is apt to get bruised or damaged in transport and should be eaten very soon after cutting, this may explain its subsequent decline in popularity.