Archive for Growing Kale

Growing Kale the Right Way

Cabbage cultivation

How to Grow Kale

Kale is a type of cabbage that is increasing in popularity. Growing kale is a great way to make you always have this versatile ingredient on hand when you’re making soups, salads or stews. It isn’t difficult if you have the right steps, and in fact, kale is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Kale is a versatile leaf that tastes great, as well as being nutritious. It is also rewarding because it produces an ornamental plant that looks good in your garden or indoors.

Where Does Kale Grow?

You can grow kale indoors or outdoors, and the best thing about kale growing is that you can do it in almost any climate. While kale thrives during the colder seasons, you can grow kale almost any time of year as the plant is fairly resilient. During the colder months, make sure your plants are protected from any harsh chills or winds. Kale growth will slow down during the warmer months.

Kale growing is similar to growing broccoli, cabbage or brussel sprouts. You can start with planting the seeds in a small pot to get them started. The best time to plant kale is in Spring or at the beginning of autumn, so that their growing season falls in the winter months. You can also grow kale indoors in a pot.

Planting the Kale Seeds

Plant the kale seeds in the pot or garden bed, approximately 20 inches apart. This space will allow the kale plants to spread their leaves. Make sure the soil is moist, and that it’s also mixed with fertilizer. Plant the seeds about 1/2 an inch deep. It might be easiest to place all the seeds on a small piece of paper, using a pencil to push once seed into each hole. Cover up the holes with the soil, and give the pot or bed a good watering.

The Kale Plants

 It will take about four to six weeks to have your kale seedlings. To grow kale, you need to make sure the plants are getting enough water, as they tend  to need about 1.5 inches of water per week. If you’re growing kale in a small pot, you can transfer the kale to a garden bed when at has four or five leaves hanging off. Make sure the soil is fertile with a high nitrogen content.

Check your kale plants occasionally for pests, such as caterpillars or butterflies.

Growing Kale

 

Harvesting the Kale

The kale is ready to be harvested when you have sizable leaves, about 90 days after sowing the seeds, but this can vary depending on the climate of where the kale is growing, as well as the types of kale which you are growing. You can take a few leaves of kale at a time, to get the most out of each plant. Take a bunch of leaves at a time, and avoid picking from the middle of the plant. You need to leave some of the new leaves on the plant so that it can keep growing throughout the season. You should remove any of the older leaves, even if they’re not usable to reduce the chance of disease or pests. Harvest any leaves which are yellowing, and you can use these kale leaves for compost.

Storing Kale

Once you have harvested the kale leaves, you can store them in a plastic bag in the fridge, and they should last at least a few days. You can thrown smaller, firmer leaves straight into your favorite salad (check out our delectable kale salad recipe!), and larger leaves can be steamed and used in soups or stews.

 

Preparing Kale? Know What You Want To Make

Preparing Kale

Preparing kale is quick and easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. This healthy, nutritious and tasty leafy green can be prepared in a number of ways, depending on why you are preparing kale: are you making a kale salad, a kale smoothie, a kale juice, a kale soup or perhaps even kale chips? This versatile ingredient is available almost all year round, so it’s handy to have kale on hand in your kitchen. You may also find it can be added to some of your already-loved recipes.

Check your recipe to see if it mentions anything on how to prepare kale. However, one of the most important things when preparing kale, particularly if it’s not organic kale, is to give the leaves a good wash in a salad spinner. The cabbage family, which kale is a part of, is a type of plant which contains the most pesticides, so it’s very important to give kale a good wash before it is cooked or used. If you’re going to use it for a kale chips recipe, you need to make sure to remove most of the excess water to ensure your kale chips are crispy.

You will want to place the leaves in a deep bowl, and fill it with fresh, clean water. Massage the kale leaves with your fingertips to remove any dirt or pesticides from the leaves. You can place the kale on tea towels to dry, or use a salad spinner to remove the excess water.

Whether you decide to keep the kale stems when you are preparing kale depends on what you wish to prepare kale for. However, it’s not always necessary to remove the whole stem of the kale, only if you are making perhaps a kale smoothie, a kale juice recipe or kale chips. If it’s for a favorite kale salad recipe, or if you are going to prepare kale for a soup or stir fry, you have the option of retaining the stems, but just cut the base of the stem off with a knife.

How do you prepare kale? Well, this depends on what you are going to make. Ideal preparations include steaming, frying, boiling, baking or sautéing. Kale can also be eaten raw. Using kale for pesto, raw salad, a slushy or even for flatbread – the options are limitless! Depending on which variety of kale you are using, some kale leaves add a beautiful color and aroma to your salad or stew!

You can store your kale in the fridge for up to five days in a plastic bag or container if you’re not ready to use your kale in a recipe just yet. It’s best to take note of the date so that you know when your kale is past its used by date!

 

Preparing Kale

Kale is prepared differently depending on what you’re making
(CC Image courtesy of foodista.com)

 

The Different Types Of Kale

The Different Types of Kale

By now, you’ve probably heard of the latest superfood which is taking the world by storm: kale. But upon closer inspection of this leafy green, you’ll find there are different types of kale, each with a slightly different flavor and nutritional value. Kale is a type of cabbage, and there are three popular types of kale, which you can find at your local fruit and vegetable market, supermarket or farmer’s market.

While kale is usually available at any time of year, it is at it’s best in the northern hemisphere from September until the end of February. If you’re interested in growing your own kale, you’ll be pleased to know that while it can grow better in cooler climates, the various types of kale can be grown during any season and almost any climate.

First, you’ll also need to decide which varieties of kale you’re interested in growing, as they have different growth times. You can grow the different kale types either in a pot or a garden bed, depending on what space you have available. Make sure to provide shade if you are growing kale in summer. If it’s during the winter, try to position the seedlings in a space where they will receive some kind of sunlight. Growing kale requires a lot of water, and you’ll need to make sure to keep the soil moist.

No matter which of the types you choose to stock your fridge with, the leafy green is filled with antioxidants and is a great way to get some vitamins into your body. Kale is also versatile, which means you can use them in almost any dish! Buying kale at the supermarket also won’t break the bank.

To store kale, it is usually kept in the fridge wrapped in some plastic. It will keep for up to a few days. When it becomes wilted it no longer retains it’s strong taste.

Curly Kale

 

curly kale

Curly Kale (CC Image courtesy of Dave Fisher on Flickr)

Of all the varieties of kale, curly kale is the most popular, and the one you have probably seen in your local supermarket or greengrocer. While it has only gained popularity around the world in recent years, many people have been growing kale for a number of years. You can probably guess where it gets its name – the top of the green leaves tend to curl around and create a kind-of ripple effect.

Curly kale tends to be a vibrant green, sometimes with a deep purple running through the leaves. It can have a slightly bitter taste, depending on the age of the leaves. This type of kale is good in stir-fries, steamed with lentils or used in soups.

Red Russian Kale 

Unless you know somebody who is growing kale, red Russian kale can be more difficult to get your hands on. It can give the appearance of rocket leaves, but with of course a red color. It has a sweeter taste than the other varieties of kale. It is good for making chips, and can be used as a substitute for spinach. This leaves can be used raw, which also helps them to maintain their nutritional value.

 

red russian kale

Red Russian Kale
(CC Image courtesy of birdman on Flickr)

Lacinato Kale

 

Lascinato kale

Lascinato Kale (CC Image courtesy of photofarmer on Flickr)

This kale variety tends to be more wrinkled, and the leaves display a bluey green color. The leaves are long and the stalks can be thick and sturdy. Rather than being a bitter taste, it tends to taste more nutty.

Lascinato may also go by the name of black kale, Tuscan Kale or Dinosaur kale. This variety is good to steam or blanch in hot water or a salty broth.