PHYSIOLOGY AND CULTURAL PRACTICES OF SEAKALE CULTIVATED FROM CUTTING AND PRODUCED LIKE WITLOOF.
Physiological experiments done since 1982, helped define seakale propagation practices that can be done either by in vitro techniques or by root cuttings. These cultural practices are comprised of two parts:
- The field production phase. Field setting takes place between March 15 and May 15 under Loire Valley climatic conditions. The duration of growth in the field is about 7 months during which time the plants form one or several foliar rosettes. Growth stops and the leaves abscisse about November 15.
- The etiolated sprouting phase in dark chambers. The etiolated sprouts, set in peat moss substrate, are edible after 28–30 days in a dark forcing chamber, at 15°C and 85% relative humidity. The duration of the sprouting phase at the end of winter, is shorter if the plants are lelf in the field until their transfer.
Best yields are obtained at the beginning of the season i.e. about December 25. This yield is about 100–120g per plant or 5.3 to 6.4 tonnes per hectare at a population of 53500. The yield reduction during winter is accompanied by a concomitant decrease in sprout quality.
These physiological and cultural practices should be sufficiently comprehensive for commercial production.