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Jonas Christensen, Uffe Bjerre Lauridsen, Christian Andreasen and Henrik Lütken

Sea kale (Crambe maritima L.) is a wild edible plant with forgotten and undiscovered potential as a field vegetable. Its natural habitat is gravel beaches in northern Europe and the Black Sea. Three experiments were conducted to find the effect of temperature on seed germination and to determine plant growth response to organic fertilizer and soil types. Germination rates were estimated at three temperatures. Plant growth responses were conducted with application of two fertilizer concentrations [15 and 30 kg plant-available nitrogen (PAN)/ha] and by using four distinct soil types. Seeds sown at 20 and 15 °C reached a significantly greater germination rate after 32 days (48.0% and 40.4%, respectively) than seeds sown at 10 °C (16.6%). The number of days when 50% of the seeds that germinated during the experiment had germinated (T50) were 12.0, 11.8, and 16.8 days for 20, 15, and 10 °C, respectively. Application of 15 or 30 kg·ha−1 PAN did not result in any significant differences in plant size or biomass within 2 months of growth in sandy loam, but substantial plant heterogeneity was observed. Soil composition had a significant effect (P ≤ 0.05) on plant biomass. Plants grown in fine or loamy sand had the greatest growth and biomass. Sea kale seems to have a potential to become a field vegetable, because it grows well on other soil types than gravel. However, domestication processes of the species are required to obtain homogenous plants for future propagation.