Kale has successfully moved from being classed as cattle fodder to becoming a superfood. Delicious, exceptionally high in vitamins and fibre kale is really easy to grow, even in a small space.
High in vitamins A, B and C plus iron, copper, manganese and calcium, Kale is also equal to Broccoli in terms of antioxidants.
In addition to being such a healthy food, available at a time when the veg patch is looking bare, Kale is also very tough and easy to grow. Kale likes a fertile soil and doesn’t mind if it is acid or alkaline as long as it is well-drained. Plant in rows about 23cm apart with spacing of 45cm between plants and water well.
Tolerant of club-root and cabbage root fly Kale will succeed where other brassicas fail. It’s also very hardy and will cope well with frosts. In fact, as with some other brassicas, frost will actually improve the flavour by reducing the bitterness and increasing the sweetness.
So, where’s the catch? There really isn’t one. Even if you don’t have a designated veg patch most Kale plants are attractive enough to be grown amongst your flowers and some dwarf varieties can be grown in containers.
Once harvested kale, the superfood, can be eaten in many ways. Young leaves can be enjoyed raw in salads and treated as a cut-and-come again crop whereas older leaves are perfect for soups, stews and stir-fries. Chop the leaves up small and stir them through creamy mashed potato or better still turn Kale leaves into chips by tossing them in seasoned oil and then baking them in the oven!
The following varieties of kale are available to order now:
Kale Red Russian Originated in Siberia and has red veining running through attractive frilly blue/green leaves. This red veining deepens as the weather gets colder. More tender and sweet than some other varieties Red Russian is perfect for eating as a young salad leaf.
Kale Black Magic Bred in Britain and so perfect for our climate this kale is related to the Italian black cabbage but with improved cold tolerance, leaf shape and bolt tolerance.
Kale Reflex Succulent and delicious this is a dark-leafed, very curly-leafed variety which again is well suited to our climate.
Rob Smith, winner of the Big Allotment Challenge has more to say about superfood kale in the July edition of Kitchen Garden so do remember to pick up a copy.