Kalettes

Family: Brassicaceae

Kalettes are an exciting, new and very tasty vegetable, created by Dr Jamie Claxton at Tozer Seeds, through a 15 year period of selective breeding, repeatedly crossing British Kale and Brussels Sprouts to produce Kalettes.  Kalettes were first launched with the name Brukale and they’re also sold as Flower Sprouts.  These attractive vegetables form tall stems, very much like Brussels Sprouts plants’ do.  The Kalettes we harvest are a similar size to Brussels Sprouts and like Brussels Sprouts, Kalettes are formed all along their plant’s stems.  These attractive vegetables resemble a cross between a Brussels Sprout and a flower; there are a variety of coloured forms available, including: green, purple, pink, bronze, and red, and almost any combination of these colours.

Sow Kalette seeds from February to the end of April (from late winter to mid spring).  February and March sown Kalettes will need to be protected inside a glasshouse or polytunnel; as these seeds require temperatures of 18-20C (65-68F) to germinate and young plants that are started in a cosy environment will also appreciate protection.  However, if you don’t have a glasshouse or polytunnel, don’t worry – Kalettes can be sown outdoors without any protection during April.

Gradually harden off your glasshouse grown Kalette plants in May, by moving your plants outdoors in the morning and then bringing the Kalette plants back under cover, at the end of the day.  It’s wise to harden your plants off for at least two weeks (and ideally four) before you plant your Kalette plants in their permanent positions.  All Kalette (both plants grown inside glasshouses and plants grown outdoors) plants should be planted outdoors, in their final growing positions in June.  Traditionally, Brassicas enjoy firm soil, so take time to firm your plants in, after planting.

Although warmth is needed to germinate Kalette seeds, once these plants get going, they’re very hardy.  These vegetables will stand happily through the winter frost, snow, and ice.  This is a superb choice of plant to grow for Christmas and winter meals, as Kalettes can be left outdoors on the plants’ stems until you’re ready to harvest them.

Once Kalette plants get going, they produce tall stems which are liberally decorated with Kalette flower sprouts, all the way up the stem.  I’d recommend supporting your plants’ stems before they grow too tall, by gently tying the Kalette stems to stakes or canes.

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