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question about Kale

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Post  GWN 4/23/2012, 9:51 am

Living in zone 5a I was surprised that my spinach overwintered and just started growing.
But even more so with my kale.
Stalks that clearly looked dead in the winter just started producing.
They look a bit different from originally... What gives?question about Kale Dsc_0144

They are kind of pretty too, is kale a perennial, or is this like the carrot seeding on the second year?
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Post  givvmistamps 4/23/2012, 11:56 am

Did you have a mild winter? Kale is supposed to taste better once it's been touched by frost a few times; I read that it's a great crop for winter...but I would've thought with the more severe winters of the NW might be killers for those.

My knowledge of cold-hardy crops is strongly lacking since I have the opposite problem; I need heat and humidity hardy crops! Kale and other cold-hardy crops might not even like the winter we just had...it was far milder than normal.
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Post  quiltbea 4/23/2012, 1:37 pm

I don't let my brassicas, kale among them, overwinter since I pull out the crop and add a little lime to prevent clubroot in the soil.

It is my understanding that brassicas can over-winter but they are going into seed-saving mode the 2nd year and will be bitter to eat.

True, many taste better after a frost of two in the early winter, having sweetened up, but that doesn't last. Unless its a variety bred specifically to sleep over the winter and produce its crop in the early spring (and there's more of those lately), an over-wintered crop turns bitter and just wants to produce seeds.

Any experts out there to tell us more?
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/23/2012, 1:50 pm

Yep, Quiltbea, you are correct in almost all you wrote, except for eating your brassica flower shoots in spring. Yes, they do produce a bitter compound, but it's easily leached away in about 4-5 minutes of rapidly boiling water. Then drain and quickly cool the shoots and use them as you would purchased broccoli raab. We've eaten a lot of kale 'raab' this spring, and it's delicious. Finely chop a clove or two of your home-grown garlic. Heat a skillet, add some olive oil and warm it; add the garlic and let it fully infuse the oil (just don't let it burn). Then drop your raabs into the pan, flipping them to fully 'dress' them with the garlic oil. When the raabs are hot, squeeze a bit of lemon on them, add a touch of sea salt, and serve. Or use them as an addition to pasta in the Italian way. Just Google recipes using broccoli raab and go for it.
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Post  plantoid 4/23/2012, 4:19 pm

I love the slightly bitter taste of well overwintered kale , it is similar to brussel sprout tops and over wintered dark spring cabbages .

It all goes great with oven roasted potatoes , oven roasted whole chicken or turkey that has a few sprigs of rosemary inserted under the skin , along with some fresh lightly boiled carrots and 1 inch thick leeks in a thin home made gravy made from the stock off the roast.
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Post  walshevak 4/23/2012, 5:29 pm

The kale I planted last spring survived the hot dry summer and overwintered under hoops this year. I kept it going until it started to put out yellow flowers. Then I pulled it because I needed the squares. By then my new kale was up and into the garden.

Kay

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/23/2012, 6:08 pm

Oh, Plantoid, your roasted chicken and potatoes sounds SOOO good. question about Kale 959632 Dang, too bad the meatloaf is already in the oven.
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Post  plantoid 4/24/2012, 5:04 pm

One of my little books says kale is a slow growing cool climate crop , what sort of varieties are you using in the warmer areas??
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Post  walshevak 4/24/2012, 6:39 pm

I used the Winterbor variety. Also trying Redbor this year.

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/24/2012, 8:30 pm

Being as how we first saw Tuscan kale (aka nero di Toscana) in Tuscany, it appears to be tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. It's also one of the most delicious of the kales. Also known as Lancinato Kale, or (my grandkids' favorite): Dinosaur Kale. You might give it a try. Looks nothing like "our grandmothers' kale," the leaves are so dark a green to look almost black. Instead of palm-like leaves, they have plume-shaped leaves. An important ingredient to Italian Wedding Soup. In fact, with the ribs stripped out and the leaf chopped up, when cooked in a soup they turn smooth, rich and unctuous. Hey, can you tell it's my favorite kale? Nonna
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Post  walshevak 4/24/2012, 11:11 pm

I'm trying the dinasaur kale this year. Got 2 squares going.

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/24/2012, 11:18 pm

How many did you plant to a square? Depending on the strain, they can get really big.
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Post  walshevak 4/24/2012, 11:27 pm

Planted 3 but am willing to pull one if they start getting too big.

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/24/2012, 11:34 pm

Or just keep harvesting the bottom 4 or 5 leaves from each plant each time you want kale for dinner, and keep them growing upright instead of sprawling. Eventually, though, they'll want to throw off side shoots and will become quite bushy. Nice thing about heirloom Tuscan Kale is, if you grow it away from other kinds of kale, you can let a shoot go to seed and plant the seeds. I like that in a vegetable, don't you?
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Post  walshevak 4/24/2012, 11:42 pm

I have some redbor kale in a flower garden that is blooming now. Hope to get some seed as the redbor seed is twice the price of the green. Never let the green kale go to seed this year.

So far I have had cilantro and dill reseed, and I saved some seed from the yellow cayenne pepper last year. Started 6 seeds and have managed to not kill 3 plants.

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Post  Turan 4/25/2012, 1:55 pm

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Being as how we first saw Tuscan kale (aka nero di Toscana) in Tuscany, it appears to be tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. It's also one of the most delicious of the kales. Also known as Lancinato Kale, or (my grandkids' favorite): Dinosaur Kale. You might give it a try. Looks nothing like "our grandmothers' kale," the leaves are so dark a green to look almost black. Instead of palm-like leaves, they have plume-shaped leaves. An important ingredient to Italian Wedding Soup. In fact, with the ribs stripped out and the leaf chopped up, when cooked in a soup they turn smooth, rich and unctuous. Hey, can you tell it's my favorite kale? Nonna

This is my new to growing and eating plant this year. I am at a loss as to why kale is new to me. A friend told me to start with Lancinato because it is the tastiest.
Any words of wisdom growing it?
I figure they need 18" squares like the DeCiccio broccoli?
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Post  GWN 4/25/2012, 3:33 pm

Or just keep harvesting the bottom 4 or 5 leaves from each plant each time you want kale for dinner

This is the only way I have harvested Kale and seem to have lots of Kale all summer for a big dish once a week at least. http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/deep-dish-skillet-pizza/

This recipe calls for LOTS of Kale, and the pizza even freezes well for awhile.
Since I just pick away the outer leaves, I am wondering if I could get away with more than just one plant per square, which is what I currently have cplanted
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Post  camprn 4/25/2012, 5:03 pm

I plant my kale 1 per square and harvest the leaves when they get about 10"-12" long. Harvest from the bottom up. Here is what my kale looked like in October.

question about Kale Img_1310

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Post  plantoid 4/25/2012, 5:53 pm

Strewth Camp you been reading " Jack and the beanstalk " ? You could substitute those kale and brussels for the bean stalks.

I've used dwarf curly kale that has overwintered , you could run three plants across two adjoining squares with no over spill . max height about 18 inches when it runs to seed in a few weeks time.

I hope the Brussels sprouts I'm growing as transplants will also be a dwarf 2 foot max height variety even in MM . The tops would be over seven feet off the ground if i grtew the same sort as you in my raised beds .
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Post  GWN 4/25/2012, 6:01 pm

Hi Camp that is a great example of what I do, however I have never taken the leaves that high up, but it is great to know you can.
You can really see how the two plants are related with that picture
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Post  Turan 5/3/2012, 1:37 am

@camprn wrote:I plant my kale 1 per square and harvest the leaves when they get about 10"-12" long. Harvest from the bottom up. Here is what my kale looked like in October.

question about Kale Img_1310

Thanks, duly noted. We bought a bag of new greens from over wintered kale, they were very tasty quickly wilted with garlic in olive oil. I bet one could use the big leaves to roll dolma Very Happy
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Post  GWN 5/3/2012, 10:22 am

I bet one could use the big leaves to roll dolma

HMMMMM or anything else for that matter, perhaps like cabbage rolls
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