At the moment, we’ve been eating a lot of kale from our garden. I’ve attached a picture showing some of our Cavolo Nero kale. It’s a great veggie to have on hand at this time of the year, when pickings from the garden can be quite sparse. Like peas, I tend to sow and plant kale in autumn rather than in spring for two reasons. Firstly, it’s something we enjoy a lot of during the cooler months. Secondly, I find that kale starts going to seed when the weather warms up in September. Some of our kale has already started bolting. Once it starts going to seed, it becomes bitter.
We just pick kale as we need it. You can treat it a bit like cut and come again lettuce. You don’t have to pull out the whole plant.
Although I planted out seedlings purchased from the garden centre back in autumn, kale is pretty simple to grow from seed. My favourite variety of kale is Cavolo Nero, which you can purchase from Kings Seeds. In the past, I have also grown Kale “Edible” and “Red Russian” from Yates, which I also recommend. Next winter, I’m keen to try “Jagello Nero” from Egmont Seeds for the first time.
I normally start sowing kale in punnets with a little seed raising mix in late summer and find that the seeds germinate quickly just left in our patio. When the seedlings are big enough, I plant them outside. To encourage healthy green foliage, I like to use a little Yates Thrive Natural Blood and Bone at the time of planting.
If the white butterfly is still around, I protect seedlings with a little organic derris dust from the Yates Natures Way range. One year, with the help of the wwoofers who were staying with us, we even created a little “tent” to protect the seedlings, by draping old net curtains over some hoops. This worked really well and as the fabric was mesh, the plants were able to absorb moisture when they were watered and it rained.
Once planted, I’ve found that kale requires very little care. Every fortnight, I liquid feed plants with Yates Thrive Natural Fish and Seaweed soluble fertiliser.
We enjoy kale in green smoothies with coconut water. We also discovered a delicious kale and brown lentil recipe by Eleanor Ozich which we enjoy as a side dish. When we have lots of it, we sometimes make kale chips.
Does anyone else have kale growing in their garden at the moment?