Thursday, August 20, 2009

Time to plant your fall and winter kale!

The New York Times is not the first place I would look for gardening advice, but there they are with an article today, right on schedule, recommending that now is the time to start sowing seeds for fall and winter greens, including kale.

I have been collecting my kale seeds for the last month or so, that started from our one plant that first overwintered and grew back last year, just as this article describes.

I'll plant a little bit in my front or back yard at our current home but will plant most at our new farm as soon as the land is ready to sow.

Here are two recent photos:

(Photo: backyard kale plant so heavy with seed pods that the stalks are lying on top of the patio and strawberry plants)

(Photo: one Red Russian kale plant volunteer in our community garden, growing right next to the compost pile. Its roots must LOVE where they are growing!)

I forgot to send some kale seeds with my younger son when he left to return to his home in Seattle where he has taken a tiny tiny tiny piece of dirt in the courtyard of his apartment complex to plant his garden. Time to get some kale seeds growing while he waits for his tomatoes to ripen up. His neighbors took good care of his plants while he was on vacation here at home in Michigan and are now even offering to continue helping. Yes, there is something that feels good about putting your hands in the dirt and nurturing life (and good food). :-)

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Joan Bailey said...

Those are beautiful plants! I'm pretty sure that here in Tokyo kale will prove a year-round friend, so I'm looking forward to plenty of seed pods next year. Any tips on collecting the seed?

Diana Dyer said...

HI Joan!!
The seed pods will change from green to brown as they are drying out. The trick is to collect the pods when dry INTO something deep (a bag, a large garden hat, anything without holes!) so that you can retrieve the seeds if the pods pop.

I also have a friend who uses the kale seeds in a culinary manner as you would use mustard seeds. The kale seeds are tasty if not quite as spicy as a mustard seed. Even though they are both brassica plants, I never thought of doing this myself - the benefit of friends sharing gardening (and cooking) information and experiences. :-)

Anonymous said...

Diane.. in your opinion, which variety of kale is the most delicious? I lightly cook kale on low heat with olive oil and seasonings. It's my favorite vegetable! Thank you for this terrific blog!

Diana Dyer said...

I don't have a favorite variety for taste. I think the most important aspect is age. Look for the young and tender leaves. That is why growing your own is so helpful. Pick them when you need them at just the right size. If you're fortunate, you'll also have access to a wide variety of kale at a local farmers' market.