Kale the superfood and superstar! Why wouldn’t you grow and eat kale? It’s loaded with vitamin K, omega-3, alpha-linoleic acid, it supports the brain and bones, contains more vitamin C than an orange, plus boosts the body’s natural ability to detox.
I have grown kale for many years for it’s beauty in the flower garden and vegetable beds. There are so many types of kale you can choose from and make a rainbow of awesome, edible interest. While this superfood will “kinda” grow in not so great soil, it will grow quicker and healthier if you take a little time to amend the soil. It also enjoys some sunshine, but will adapt to a semi-shady spot in your garden or yard. Plus, if you have a windy area that most plants do not tolerate, you can place your hardy kale plants in that environment! Amend your soil well with plenty of compost and a nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer such as “Bio-Fish 7-7-2“. You can sow directly or use transplants. Seeds can be sown eight to six weeks before your last frost of the season, but even in our hot climate we have had success sowing seeds right through late spring with a little extra moisture. Thin seedlings to 12-18” apart. Transplants can be planted out here in February through early summer. Wait a month if your soil is still below 40 degrees. If temperatures are going to drop into the low twenties, I simply give them a little protection with a quick covering of a frost blanket until the sun reaches them the next day. Kale can tolerate frostbite. Never starve kale of water or it will become bitter. Kale loves kelp! Throughout the season, once a month, drench the soil with a kelp solution. That will be the only food kale should need if your ground was prepared at planting time. Harvest leaves a baby size for salads or let them mature and pick from the bottom up (larger leaves) if you want continued harvest. Pick kale with a sharp knife and eat right away. During the summer months, kale will produce somewhat looser and greener leaves. Don’t have room for kale? Sure you do! Grow in a pot or pop a few in your flower bed, they add contrast, color and interest in the background of flower beds or patios.
We grow many kinds of kale for many different uses. Curly Green kale is probably the most common and seems to work well in most recipes. It comes in dwarf size plants to plants that reach 3 foot (yes sometimes larger, depending on variety, soil and location). Curly green kale is great for making kale chips. Lacinato kale is also known as dinosaur kale. It is gaining popularity these days. Lacinato can also be used in most recipes that call for kale. It has a spicy flavor and pairs well with spicy sausage. Redbor kale, or curly roja kale has been traditionally grown for its ornamental look in the garden, but is just as tasty as other kales. I feel it it the sweetest of the kales and with its dark ruby hue makes it great in blueberry smoothies. It is not commonly found in grocery stores. Red Russian Kale has a red leaf stalk with purple veins. It’s sweet, tender with a hint of spice. Russian kale is ideal for Asian dishes with flavors of sesame, soy and ginger. Add Red Russian kale to your egg dishes and be boosted up all day long!
Kale and Blueberries! What a healthy combo…
Blueberry Kale Smoothie
1 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
1/2 whole milk
1/2 cup packed chopped kale, stems removed
1 T honey or agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. This smoothie is great for your cardiovascular health! Drink up!
For another great recipe we like go to this link: Roasted Veggies and Kale
Kale was recently added to the “Dirty Dozen” list of vegetables, so it is definitely worth growing your own or buying from a reputable local grower.