- Walking Stick Kale – Jersey Cabbage Seeds (Brassica oleracea longata)
- Jersey Cabbage Seeds (Brassica oleracea longata)
- Kale ‘Jersey Walking Stick’
- What Is Walking Stick Cabbage: How To Grow Walking Stick Cabbage
- What is Walking Stick Cabbage?
- How to Grow Walking Stick Cabbage
- Can You Eat Walking Stick Cabbage?
Walking Stick Kale – Jersey Cabbage Seeds (Brassica oleracea longata)
Jersey Cabbage Seeds (Brassica oleracea longata)
Price for Package of 5 seeds.
The Jersey cabbage (Brassica oleracea longata, also known as Jersey kale or cow cabbage) and by a variety of local names including giant cabbage, long jacks, tree cabbage and the French chour and chou à vacque. It is a variety of cabbage native to the Channel Islands that grows to a great height and was formerly commonly used there as livestock fodder and for making walking sticks.
The ‘Jersey cabbage’ develops a long stalk, commonly reaching 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3.0 m) in height, and can grow as tall as 18 to 20 feet (5.5 to 6.1 m). Historically the stalks were made into walking sticks, of which 30,000 a year were being sold by the early 20th century, many for export. They were also used for fencing and as rafters. Much of the stalk is bare; the islanders stripped leaves to accentuate this effect and induce it to grow without twisting, varnished the stalk, and created a handle either by heat-treating and bending the root end or by planting at an angle to produce a naturally bent root.
The lower leaves were fed to livestock, (one variety in Portugal was grown specifically for the purpose), and were reportedly of great value: The Farmer’s Magazine stated in 1836 that five plants would support 100 sheep or 10 cows, and sheep fed them were rumoured to produce silky wool up to 25 inches (64 cm) in length. The open cabbage at the top is comparatively small: “the size of the cabbages at the top was so infinitesimal that one seemed forced to the conviction that nature meant them to be stalks, not cabbages”.
The plant is now rarely grown in the Channel Islands, except for feeding rabbits. Although, it is still cultivated for walking sticks by Philip and Jacquelyn Johnson, who were shown on the BBC One series Countryfile in January 2010.
180 days. Heirloom
Kale ‘Jersey Walking Stick’
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Grown for foliage
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
Where to Grow:
Unknown – Tell us
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Unknown – Tell us
Late Spring/Early Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Unknown – Tell us
Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Unknown – Tell us
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
What Is Walking Stick Cabbage: How To Grow Walking Stick Cabbage
When you mention to neighbors that you are growing walking stick cabbage, the most likely response will be: “What is walking stick cabbage?” Walking stick cabbage plants (Brassica oleracea var. longata) produce cabbage-type leaves atop a long, sturdy stem. The stem can be dried, varnished and used as a walking stick. Some call this vegetable “walking stick kale.” All agree that it is among the more unusual garden veggies. Read on for information about how to grow walking stick cabbage.
What is Walking Stick Cabbage?
Walking stick cabbage is not well known, but those gardeners who grow it, love it. It almost looks like a Dr. Seuss plant, with a very tall, sturdy stem (up to 18 feet high) topped by a fluff of cabbage/kale leaves. Native to the Channel Islands, it is an edible ornamental and will certainly attract attention in your garden.
The plant grows faster than Jack’s beanstalk. Its stalk shoots up 10 feet in one season, producing enough leaves to keep you in vegetables for the season. It’s a short-lived perennial in USDA zones 7 or above, standing in your garden for two or three years. In cooler regions, it is grown as an annual.
How to Grow Walking Stick Cabbage
Walking stick cabbage plants are almost as easy to grow as regular cabbage or kale. Walking stick cabbage growing should occur in neutral soil, with a pH of between 6.5 and 7. The plant does not do well in acidic soils. The soil must have excellent drainage and should be amended with a few inches of organic compost before planting.
Start walking stick cabbage seeds indoors about five weeks before the last projected frost. Keep the containers on a windowsill in a room around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C.). After a month, transplant the young seedlings outdoors, allowing each plant at least 40 inches of elbow room on each side.
Walking stick cabbage growing requires weekly irrigation. Immediately after transplanting, give the young walking stick cabbage plants two inches of water, then another two inches per week during the growing season. Stake the plant as it starts to grow taller.
Can You Eat Walking Stick Cabbage?
Don’t be embarrassed to ask “Can you eat walking stick cabbage?” It’s such an unusual-looking plant it is hard to imagine it as a crop. But the simple answer is yes, you can harvest and eat the leaves of the plant. You are better off not attempting to eat the thick stem, however.