Thursday, May 10, 2012

'The kale's puckered sleeve'

Isn't that a beautiful image? I do believe this is the first time I have seen kale included in a poem. The line is from '6. The Garden' in the poem Rain by Mary Oliver. Here is the rest of The Garden:

The kale's
puckered sleeve,
the pepper's
hollow bell,
the lacquered onion.

Beets, borage, tomatoes,
Green beans.

I came in and I put everything
on the counter: chives, parsley, dill,
the squash like a pale moon,
peas in their silky shoes, the dazzling
rain-drenched corn.

I finally sorted my seeds (they have been stashed safely for the past three years) and figured out what we have to plant in our family garden this year. I save the Brassicas and heirloom beans, which I mostly grow for their dried beans. Here is a photo of the Brassica seeds on my dining room table. I am late planting this spring, but I'll get a little bit in now and save the rest for late summer-fall planting. 

I think Mary Oliver is referring to the Lacinato, or dinosaur, kale variety (lower left corner of the photo) when she uses the words 'The kale's puckered sleeve'. What do you think?

Which varieties have you planted already? 

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Heather V said...

I love Mary Oliver maybe even more than I love kale! I recently read this poem in her 'New and Selected Poems, Volume One'. I have to get my kale from our local organic student farm on my campus, because I live in an apartment that doesn't allow planting in its grounds!

Diana Dyer said...

Maybe you can plant in container something like this Garden Tower. ( Full disclosure: one of my nephews is starting this company.

In addition, one of my own sons did 'stealth gardening' at his apartment complex, as discretely as possible growing his kale and tomatoes within the landscaping. What can I say other than I am a proud mom :)

Yes, I only recently 'found' Mary Oliver and love her, too. Her poetry is 'sustainable' in so many ways. Right now I am trying to slowly read through all of her poetry books, savoring each poem.....


SunnyBeachJewelryGarden said...

I have red russian Kale, fir st year, and seedling of nero toscana and dwarf blue curlied

Diana Dyer said...

Red Russian is the variety that 'changed my life' or at least changed my view of kale. :) I had only had the stiff, probably old, kale from the grocery store and/or what was served only as decoration on a plate before buying some heirloom seeds at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home in Charlottesville, Virginia. So beautiful and so tasty, it opened my eyes and taste buds and my adventurous spirit. Aha! Something 'good for you' that also tastes great. I hope this blog can spread that message. :)

SunnyBeachJewelryGarden said...

Thank you!
I was wondering why its called red russian and some of the friends referred me to your blog! Si I started to read more about kale and got more seeds of nero and blue dwarf! Thank you! My hubby is vegan so kale will be great addition to our menu.

Anna G said...

What a wonderful poem! I have Red Russian kale growing in my garden- a bit of an accident. It was part of a lettuce mesculun mix, but the only variety that actually sprouted. So now I'm trying to figure out what to do with all this kale (along with the Swiss Chard it's next to). By the way, I am a fellow RD, formerly of ON-DPG, but now a FT mom. I have a blog about feeding my baby, and hopefully teaching her to like *real* food like kale at
Anna G.

Diana Dyer said...

Hi Anna
Welcome to my kale blog! I also took time off at times to be a FT mom, which I would not trade back for anything. :) At other times I worked PT with a job-share for 7 years with the best RD-partner possible in the medical ICU. Somehow I made it through with two sons (now 29 and 34) who love to grow, cook, and eat real food. AND they have two wonderful wives who also appreciate everything about good food, including one named Anna. :) I will take a look at your blog, which sounds like fun! I hope you stop by often.