Kale and Hardy Rape


Athena Rape

This year we broadcast frost seeded Siberian Rape (ruffled leave not shown) and Athena Kale (smooth leave above) among other things into both the new pastures that used to be forest and the old pastures. The kale and rape did great. This is a typical example.

This one happens to be across the road on the log landing where the livestock can’t get to it so it grew unfettered all summer and has set seed. It will be interesting to see if we get reseeding volunteers. We have volunteer tomatoes, pumpkins, tomatillos and other plants that are not supposed to be able to do this in our climate without human intervention. They have adapted and been selected over the years. Due to the nature of managed intensive rotational grazing some of the areas did set seed even where the animals grazed.

One of the things that was a bit of a surprise is the pigs ate the leaves of the rape and kale but left the crowns and roots to regrow – which they did. They didn’t take the main stalks until late in the season which means they ate the mature seeds – and spread them.

The specimen in this photo is about five feet tall. These are still thriving despite our many hard frosts. I like that in a plant. These cole crops are a highly nutritious browse that increased the protein content of our pastures. These along with the legumes like alfalfa, clover and the hazelnuts all make great animal feed that we can grow ourselves on our farm for our animals reducing off farm inputs. That saves money but also makes it so we know the source and quality of the feed that goes into our pastured pork.

The kale and rape did so well that I wish I had planted broccoli and cabbage.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to Kale and Hardy Rape

  1. David says:

    Are you sayijng you just spread seed and they out competed the grass and weeds? I’m like wowed! That plant is spectacular! Looks yummy!

    • Charles Hamby says:

      I tried over seeding Rape in deer food plots in the past , only had small % of seed to come up. I live in North West GEORGIA. Any suggestions would be helpfull, thank you.

      • We use several techniques for over seeding:

        1) Frost seeding where the frost action drops the seeds into the soil – winter and spring, might not work in Georgia.

        2) Rain seeding where the beating action of rain drops drives the seed into the ground – probably more appropriate to your area. Seed just before a rain storm.

        3) Mob seeding where the animals hooves drive the seed into the soil – this takes a lot of livestock.

        Don’t seed around chickens or other critters that will clean the seed up.

        Hope that helps!

  2. Yes, these competed very well with the other plants on the pastures, even with the raspberry bushes in the upper areas. I’m hoping that the seeds from this years plants will sprout from what passed through the pigs digestive tract and were left in their rich manure on the pastures.

  3. Jascha says:

    Where do you buy your seed?

  4. Hey Walter…just a quick comment. Johnny’s seed is a company that is wholly owned by Monsanto. Sure hope you would re-think supporting them based on that info. Is the canola (rape) gmo? round-up ready? If it is either, then you are introducing an invasive species to your environment. I would be real careful with the whole canola pasture thing. There are organic canola’s but they do cross pollinate with gmo crap. Don’t think you have many canola fields around you though. Just a little word of caution…I’ve followed your blog for years and understand at least a little about your inclinations. Wasn’t sure if you were aware of some of these issues. Have a great day on the mountain!

    • Aye, I’m aware of these issues – and don’t like Monstersanto buying up the heirloom seed companies. But it is more complex than the rumors. Do read about it here on the Johnny’s Seed web site where they clearly state that “Johnny’s has never sold a variety with engineered traits” and “Johnny’s Selected Seeds has no affiliation with Monsanto Company.” I’ve never knowingly (and hopefully never unknowingly) bought GMO seeds either. We are fortunate to be very isolated so it is extremely unlikely that GMO pollen or seed would invade – about as unlikely as one can get in the modern world. This issue is something that concerns me and I’ve been watching the government’s unfortunate tolerance of the release of GMOs into the wild by corporations like Monstersanto. Alfalfa is one of the latest issues. In short, always read the label when buying seed.

  5. Hey…I just read the same thing. Seems like I may have made an error about Johnny’s Seed. I spent some time trying to find the source of my information without success. There is obviously some common knowledge about the Monsanto connection judging by Johnny’s website response to the issue. I won’t call them liars, but me dost think they protest too much.

    Around us there is no such thing as non-gmo canola. I can’t even grow an organic canola on my own land because it will be cross-pollinated with a neighbour’s gmo variety. Just waiting for somebody with more time and money than me to launch a lawsuit regarding that issue!

    I knew you were concerned with stuff like this…canola seems like a foreign plant in your neck of the woods and I wasn’t sure you were aware of the issues. You are!

  6. Emily says:

    John and Walter,

    I too heard that about Johnny’s. I am not positive but I think I may have read it in the Omnivore’s Dilemma. I am relieved to read Johnny’s response to it that Walter posted!

  7. KR says:

    Thank you for the effort you put in here educating others. would you be willing to break down a list of what you would seed into a new pasture? I’m growing winter rye on a patch of old pasture I cleared. I had planned on plowing it under and planting a new pasture. I’m interested in trying your method with a few pigs. Thanks again.

    • I’ve covered this lightly a few times but should do a more in depth post. It will vary with your local climate. Check with your ag extension for your local dairy pasture mix and then boost the legumes as well as adding brassicas if they grow well in your area. Other things like pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, sunchokes, mangles, turnips and such are good additions in the winter paddocks for fall food.

  8. Melissa says:

    THank you for your patience as you continue to repost information. As newbies relearning how to manage the land, seeing the infor reiterated in different posts in different ways helps to cement the processes and the names of the plants.

    I recently talked with a long time home producer ( in Maine) and he recommended Johnny’s in Maine. I KNOW he would not recommend it if it was Monsanto or GMO. Often a rumor gets sarted and when it gets into print it becomes gospel. I have read an article in Times about horses and they didn’t get the story completely right. From then on I often wonder what else is not 100% . . . from all news media, etc.

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