First of all, thanks to Coret, Vanessa, James and N. Dave for commenting on my post about discovering the kale seed pods. I tried to answer your comments but encountered some technical difficulties posting my responses. So, James, here is the answer to your question about how you know that the seeds are ready.
About a week ago I pulled all of that gangly kale out of the garden, because it was smothering my onions, half of which I have already lost because they ended up growing in the shade of the bolting kale. But that’s okay. This has been a great experience.
Today I harvested my seeds!
As far as when I knew that they were ready, I was guessing. I had split open a few green and half-brown pods and kept finding green seeds inside. Since I have been buying brassicas seeds for a while now, I know they’re supposed to be little black/brown balls. So I figured I’d just leave the pods on there until they turned brown and dried up. So I left them laying in a corner of my yard, where sure enough, they turned brown and dried out. This morning I went out there to get the seeds.
It became clear right away that there was no way I would be able to get every seed. For one thing, who has the patience? Another thing I suppose is that I may be finding volunteer kale coming up in my yard for years to come.
At first I started picking the individual pods, but that was really tiresome, and soon proved to be unnecessary. I started grabbing handfuls of pods and pulling them into a big bowl. But what I finally ended up doing was just shaking the branches over top of the bowl, and kind of crumpling the pods and letting the seeds just fall down into the bowl. That was the easiest thing to do and worked as well as the other things I tried. When I had a bowl that looked like this, I quit.
Everything is an experiment.
I took the bowl full of pods (and, as it turned out, many tiny insects) up to the deck and picked through the pods one handful at a time, crackling them in my hands so that the seeds feel into the bowl. When I was finished, I had this:
So I would say that my kale seeds experiment has been a success. In a few months I will start some under the grow light for fall, and see how it goes. Meanwhile, I have bolting broccoli and bolting cauliflower that I am keeping a close eye on.
And in other garden news – it’s zucchini day! I harvested my first two zucchini this morning!
I also harvested my first Ronde De Nice squash. I wasn't sure if it was big enough yet, but a quick web search showed that it was. Thanks, L., for the seeds!