Time to start planting and preparing for your fall and winter garden and flowers. Kale is a wonder green and will give your food and add to your flower beds through winter. Kale or leaf cabbage is one of certain cultivars grown for edible leaves, although some are used for ornamental purposes. The variety’s are many from curly leaf to flat leaf and they do not form a head as a traditional cabbage.
Choose which one you like to eat.
Here are a few variety’s and their grow dates. The most common is curly kale mild and sweet found is your grocery store. Then there is Lacinato Kale (Dino Kale) long leaves and one of my favorites, 45 days grow time and long crinkly leaves great for making kale chips. Thomas Jefferson grew this at Monticello and is a true Heritage kale. Another is Siberian a flat leaf kale grow 55 days. Larks tongue and Red Russian are all Heritage variety and about 55 days to grow. How to plant and grow from seed in the fall. Plant chosen seed in loose soil 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. lightly water or have on soaker tape they do need water to germinate and grow. A light fine spray is needed as you can dislodge them from the seed bed. You can also have the soil damp when planting. Use a mild fertilizer when planting , they do well with a kelp application. Thin after they have shown leaves with about 15 inches spacing between as they will get big and need space to leaf out. The seeds are tiny, use a seeder for small
As for this year with the very high temperatures and drought conditions most of my kale didn’t make it. Only the Swiss Chard made it through the heat. They are cold loving and will survive with even below freezing temperatures and get sweeter after a frost. Harvest from the bottom leaves clipping close to the stalk. They will store in the refrigerator, but I like to harvest when I want to have them for supper. The young tender leaves are good in salad and the heavy leaves are good braised in oil with a little garlic. For kale chips I use the large leaves. Rinse and dry the leaves. have the dehydrator ready or the oven on low. In a bowl sprinkle with olive oil and toss to cover slightly now add your favorite seasonings and lay one layer on the trays. When they are crisp enjoy. This is a nutritional dense plant , one to add that extra nutrition of leafy greens in the winter.
I have not found that I need to cover kale in winter, but if there is a long freeze consider a hoop and cover for these great plants. I hope you are planting garlic and kale and even some mustard you will be glad you did when the cold finally arrives.
Growing green with a side of mustard with Jannie