Vegetables which require
forcing by being shielded from the light are not
popular – chicory and endive are examples
and so is seakale. This was not always so –
seakale was widely grown in Victorian times when
gardeners were plentiful. It is grown like asparagus.
It is fussy about soil – a fertile, sandy
site is needed and both lime and humus are necessary.
Use crowns and not seeds for planting –
rub off all the buds but one from each crown which
should be set 18in (45cm) apart with a covering
of 2in (5cm) of soil. During summer water regularly,
feed occasionally and remove all flowering stems
as they appear. In autumn cut down the yellowing
foliage and fork over the ground. In November
cover each plant with a pot or bucket (all light
must be excluded) and surround with a layer of
leaves or compost for insulation. Cut the blanched
shoots in April when they are about 8in (20cm)
tall. After removing the pots apply a mulch and
allow growth to develop normally to build up the
reserves for next year. You can blanch year after
year – a great advantage compared to rhubarb.