Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Monday - Kale, kale and some chard

Kale with red oak leaves: Red Ursa is a beautiful, dependable, tender and tasty kale, originally from Wild Garden Seeds. I also quite like Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch - a frilly green variety. I don't typically grow taller types like palm/lacinato (B. oleracea) as I imagine they'd be more prone to die back above the snowline though I have not tried them so this is only a guess.

The kale that grows itself in my garden is Red Ursa - Brassica napus. I started these some years back and the winter survivors became the seed parents to a plentiful crop ever after. As vegetables go, and brassicas in particular, it is a easy, versatile plant. Hardy, they provide a three season harvest, even four during the milder winter months. Besides their leaves, you can eat the flowerheads like broccolini, the immature seedpods like rattail radish and the seeds as mustard or sprouted as microgreens.

Like the rest of the vegetable brassica tribe, they are also darn good for you. Doesn't the word kale just reek of nutrition? Doesn't the five year old in year wish for cookies instead?

Actually, I ♥ kale.

Perennial kale variety Daubenton growing near its so-called biennial cousin. This is a huge plant taking up a 3x4x3 foot space approximately in its second year but really can you have too much kale? It's much more strongly flavoured than the other kales I grow in the garden.

Also, it is beautiful in the garden. In the spring, transplant or seed a purple or blue toned variety near your asters or chrysanthemums. When the temperatures dip, they will take on vibrant cool tones that act as a fabulous foil for late season flowers. Their coarse textured leaves contrast nicely with grasses too.

Whattabout the chard? Oh yes, also harvesting greens like docks, chard, onions & roots like Jeruselum Artichokes, crosnes and salsify & various herbs


Didn't get your fill of kale? Here's a good article: The Best Kales by Mother Earth News


TYRA said...

Well, kale is nice, I love it too. But I'm keeping mine until Christmas :-)Then I'll have a feast./ Tyra

Fragrant and Tasty in Tyra’s Garden

villager said...

I'm with you on loving kale. I've never seen the Red Ursa before. I've got Red Russian, Starbor and Savoy Cross that's ready to eat, but I think it will be tastier after it's been frosted on a few times. I do have 5 of the lacinato type I'm going to mulch and see if they make it through the winter here.

thyme2garden said...

Red Ursa sounds like an interesting variety! I'm just starting to learn about kale with my Red Russian kale - I'm curious to see how it will survive winter.

Shawn Ann said...

The Kale is beautiful! I have never grown it it is perennial? And winter hardy without covers? I'll have to research more. Thanks!

kitsapFG said...

I like dwarf siberian kale and the red ursa looks alot like it. I make plant some of that variety next year and try it out. Kale is one of those unappreciated work horses in the food production garden. One of the best nutritional crops you can grow and some of the hardiest too.

Angela said...

I like your approach to kale, eating all parts of the plant. I enjoy both the leaves and the flower heads, which I find more tender and sweeter than broccoli. But, then, who am I to judge the sweetness of brassicas if most years I get no frost?

Mr. H. said...

Very nice kale. Thank you for sharing the Mother Earth Article it was very interesting.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Villager & Thyme: Red Ursa is a cross between White Ursa (I believe it is named) and Red Russian which I have grown before too. I find the form of Red Ursa more attractive and slightly hardier.

Shawn Anne: Daubenton is a perennial 'kale' in that it doesn't flower but instead walks around the garden by rooting its dropped branches.

Kitsap: I totally agree. I'd include Kale in any vegetable garden that I could.

Angela: I'm always looking for ways to eat the whole plant. Kale obligues.

Daphne said...

I started dwarf curly kale this year a bit late. Then the caterpillars munched it down. I'm really hoping it gets big enough to eat some leaves this winter, but I think I will only have some spring treats. Next year I want to make sure to have kale, because here it is hardy enough even without snow cover. And fresh greens in the winter are a real treat.

Mac said...

The Red Ursa kale sounds interesting, I'll have to try it someday.

I don't know what's with my kale seeds, I've started 3 different varieties this year, but none sprouted or didn't make it to transplant stage, I don't have kale in my garden this year.

meemsnyc said...

The kale looks wonderful!

Stefaneener said...

Mmmmmm, kale. My kale has been hit by aphids and I need to plant more. Maybe I'll make a mix this time.

Stevie from said...

I love kale too (red ursa sounds great!) but I admit it get's pretty old by February. I'm into kale soup #2 this week, we'll see how many I make it through before I break down and eat a chocolate cake.