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 Post subject: The Everything Kale Thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:53 am 
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ol' garly cooch
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I announce this the official Everything Kale Thread: you can talk about how much you love it, different breeds, care, problems, maintenance, etc.

Today's topic is about winterizing it. I have never done this. I just pull out spent plants and rotate my crops. D'oh! Stupid me just learned that this is a biennial and in some areas is a perennial. Totally jealous!

From Planetnatural.com:
Seed Saving Instructions:
Biennial. Kale will cross-pollinate with all other Brassica oleracea, isolate by one mile the second year when going to seed. Before a hard frost, carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40 degrees F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand.


From Bonnie Plants:
Harvest and Storage

Like collards, kale leaves are sweetest in the fall, after they’ve been hit by a light frost.

Pick the oldest leaves from the lowest section of the plants, discarding those that appear yellowed or ragged. Pick your way up the stalk, taking as many leaves as you like, as long as you leave at least 4 leaves intact at each plant's top, or growing crown. Kale will produce new leaves all winter in zones 7 to 10. In climates where hard freezes are frequent, kale often survives winter with additional cold protection from thick mulch, row covers, or plastic tunnels. Overwintered plants promptly bolt, or produce yellow flowers in spring, signaling that it’s time to remove them and make room for other crops.

Wash the leaves thoroughly and store them in a plastic bag. You can eat the stems or discard them—it’s up to you. If you cook the kale, the stems will become more tender. Kale leaves will keep for several days in the fridge in a loose plastic produce bag.

And from my favorite, The National Gardening Association:

Don't worry about mulching kale as winter approaches. While cold weather does kill some of the plants, most survive and put on good growth the following spring. Well-drained soil is more important: It will prevent the plants from rotting in the early spring. Overwintered kale tastes good until the plants bolt with warm weather.

'Russian Red' and 'Blue Curled Scotch Vates' kale are the two common varieties. 'Russian Red' has a colorful red stem and red-tinged leaves, however, many people think that 'Blue Curled Scotch Vates' is the best-tasting variety. It also makes a nice houseplant in winter. Dig a couple plants up each fall, pot them and place them near a south-facing window. The plants lose some color, but the intricate shapes of the curled leaves are quite pleasing.

You might also try planting flowering ornamental varieties of kale, such as 'Red Peacock' and 'Tokyo Hybrid'. Their curly, green and maroon leaves are beautiful at the edge of the garden, and they also can be potted and brought indoors for the winter.

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 Post subject: Re: The Everything Kale Thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:08 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i will say i am both thrilled and PO'd by my russian red kale. i grew it from seed, and put half in one bed and half in another. the ones in one bed are happy, full, energetic. the ones in the other bed are stunted, crummy, and covered in aphids. the dirt and fert are the same. go figure. i think one does get a little more sun than the other but not significant differences. le sigh.

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 Post subject: Re: The Everything Kale Thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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My trick with kale aphids is to place one hand behind the leaves for support, then blast them with a few short jets of water from the hose.


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 Post subject: Re: The Everything Kale Thread
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:18 am 
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My red russian kale is doing fabulously! I'm excited to start sauteing the babies. That's right, SAUTEING THE BABIES.

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 Post subject: Re: The Everything Kale Thread
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Because Bob Barker Told Me To
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If you can overwinter it, in spring harvest the flower buds before they open and use like mini-broccoli, only the taste is much better! Plants will keep sending out a massive number of new shoots for a couple of months in my climate, before the aphids attack.

If you have space and don't have a bad aphid outbreak, it's great to leave a couple plants to flower, feeding beneficial insects, and then allow them to self-sow. I get my strongest kale from self-sown seedlings. If you don't allow other brassica to flower, you won't have problems with cross-pollination. But I don't worry about it and it seems to mainly affect all the Asian greens. But everything that comes up is tasty!

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Formerly Kaleicious. I still love kale, but no more than lots of other garden greens too! Orach is currently my favorite.


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 Post subject: Re: The Everything Kale Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:15 am 
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Should Write a Goddam Book Already
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So, if you dig the kale and winter it that way, will it still bolt soon next year? We've already had a few frosts, but the kale is still going strong, so I don't know if its time yet.


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