Kale for Days

 

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I just found this post in my draft folder. I was so sure that I had hit publish on it, but I guess not. This was my intro to the Kale I grew last year. I didn’t manage to get any growing photos of it last year (because 2016 was a giant steamy pile of… fresh compost), BUT I plan on trying them all again this year.

I love Kale. I think most of the world does now too. And the good thing, if you are also a Kale lover… Its ridiculously easy to grow. I was originally just going to group the Kale in with the other Brassicas that I am growing this year, but then I decided to dedicate a whole post just to the Kale

Rule of thumb – cover any kind of Brassica (which Kale is) to protect it from becoming a white cabbage butterfly (or moth…whatever it is) nursery. You can try and spray the eggs off with a jet of water from the hose… and then pick any caterpillars off the leaves later on if you want; But I find the easiest way to protect my brassicas is by covering them with a screen material. The one exception to this, is the Curly Kale. It doesn’t seem to attract the little buggers like pretty much any other brassica does. But be ready to cover it if you start to see the pretty little butterfly floating around them.

I’ve grown the Curly kale over-sown in a container just outside the kitchen door for baby leaves for a few years, and I definitely recommend trying that if you have no where else to grow it. So easy! You can let some of the plants grow on into full sized Kale plants too, so you can get the best of both worlds.

I’m growing 5 different varieties this year! My best friend brought me some different varieties back with her from a trip to Ontario. White Russian and the Rainbow Kale are the new additions here. They are from a seed company called “Urban Harvest” and I’m looking forward to trying all the seeds she brought me.

  • White Russian Kale
    • Sowed: April 11 (2x Hex cells)
    • “This beautiful variety has green, wavy leaves with white stems and veining. Thought to be one of the vest tasting kales. Very tender and hardy. Use baby leaves in salad and mature leaves for stir fry or steaming.” Urban Harvest Seeds
    • Days to Maturity: Not mentioned on seed pack
  •  Rainbow Dinosaur Kale
    • Sowed: April 11 (2x Hex Cells)
    • “This European Kale has been developed by Frank Morton. A cross of Lacinato (Dinosaur) & Redbor hybrid kale. He selected this diverse population that includes the leaf qualities that Lacinato is loves for, overlain with hues of red, purple, and blue-green. More vigorous and cold hardy than Lacinato. Not bitter and very tender.” Urban Harvest Seeds 
    • Days to Maturity: 62
  • Dinosaur (Lacinato) Kale
    • Sowed: April 11 (2x Hex Cells)
    • “Handsome heirloom known for its blue-green crinkled leaves, tender texture & sweet flavor. Delicious in salads, for sauteed greens, soups or braised with garlic & olive oil. Kale’s flavor is vest in cool weather; mature plants handle frost well or extended harvesting” Cornucopia Seeds
  • Red Russian Kale
    • Sowed: April 25 (3x peat pellet)
    • “Dark gray-green leaves provide more vitamins and minerals than other greens. Red and purple hues intensify after fall frost providing tender and sweet rich dark green kale when cooked. Tasty steamed, stir fried or in salads.” McKenzie Seeds
    • Days to Maturity: 60
  • Dwarf Green Curled Kale
    • Sowed: April 25 (3x peat pellet)
    • “Decorative green curled leaves. May be boiled as greens or chopped fresh for salads when young. Kale is the oldest form of cabbage, being superior to most vegetables in protein, vitamin and mineral content. Cool weather crop that likes rich well drained, moisture retaining soil. Tastiest after a light frost. Slow to bolt” McKenzie Seeds
    • Days to Maturity: 60-75

 

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So, for this year (2017), I think I will try the exact same Kale situation as I wrote about above. Which is why I left the dates I sowed them (for my own notes). As always, plans could change. At the very least, I will sow the curly, rainbow and the dinosaur Kale. At this point in my garden plan for this year, Kale will be the only Brassica I am going to grow, with the possibility of Broccoli if I can find some room for it.

If you have any Kale or other Brassica tips, share them in the comments below. Do you have a (preferably organic) way of keeping away the white butterflies? I would love to keep the netting out of my garden that doubles as our backyard landscapes, but I also know that I cannot keep up with hand-picking the eggs or little caterpillars off the plants.

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Update on the Herbs (2016)

I figured it was time for an Herb Update. I’m doing way better with keeping these alive this year too! Here is the big Herb Post where I sowed most of these. I have potted everything up, and sowed some Dill as well.

Spearmint in the back, Lemon Balm in the front

  • Lemon Balm
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (3″ pot)
  • Spearmint
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (3″ pot)
  • Lavender
    • sown: January 23
    • potted up: March 5 (Recycled 6 cell that flowers from the garden center come in)
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  • Thyme
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Summer Savory
    • sown: March 11
    •  potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Sweet Marjoram
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Russian Tarragon
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Oregano
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Catnip
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 7 (Party Cups)
    •  
  • Flat Leaf Parsley
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Champion Moss Curled’ Parsley
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Chamomile
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (3″ pots)
    •  
  • Rosemary
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (3″ pot)
  • ‘Red Rubin’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9
  • ‘Genovese o Comune’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Lemon’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Lime’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • ‘Cinnamon’ Basil
    • sown: March 11
    • potted up: April 9 (Party Cups)
  • Sage
    • sown: March 11
    • These won’t get potted up until they go out into their final pot, as they were sown in larger cells that flowers from the garden center come in.
  • Garlic Chives
    • sown: March 11
    • Just like the Sage, these won’t get potted up until I put them outside in their final pot.
  • Stevia
    • sown: March 14
    • Not potted up yet, I’m just happy that I have ONE that has survived out of the 3 that germinated. Scratch that, I’m just happy that my future Mother-in-Law sent me the seeds so I could get this far. I STILL haven’t found any seeds around here.
  • Dill
    • sown: April 9 (Party Cup)
    • Typically, it is recommended to direct sow Dill, but I figured I would  try and get a little jump on the season. I usually miss out on my Dill because I plant it too late, or I forget to take into account the growth of plants around where I sow it, and it gets shaded out before It really gets established. So maybe, just maybe this will help my Dill situation. Worst case, they don’t like getting transplanted, and I have to direct sow. Best case, I end up with loads of Dill

 

Sorry for the lack of photos on some of the herbs; they turned out blurry. Their pictures in the next update will be better (I hope). I hope your herbs are growing well! Spring is on her way here, I even saw a Robin today.

Tomatoes 2016-Part 1

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Some of the very first tomatoes I grew in our yard here. 2011 or 2012

Part 1 of the Tomato Saga began on March 15. It took a lot of willpower to make it to this point. And I only let myself sow the longer season tomatoes.

I started by making 3 piles of my tomato seeds. Pile one was “Yes! Growing For-Sure!” Pile 2 was “Maybe/Replenish seed if space allows” and Pile 3 was “Not this year”

I would share what varieties ended up in each pile, but it is honestly a never ending battle to not grow EVERY kind. So I’ll just keep you up to date on which varieties I have started AND how their germination is (because some of the seeds are getting older).

2 years ago, I found an ad on Kijiji that was selling (or trading) heirloom seeds, and so I asked if he would be interested in trading. I had lots of Red and Pink Brandywine seeds, and a few other heirloom varieties, to trade with. In return, I received: Black Russian, Orange Wellington, Boxcar Willie and Golden Cherry. He also threw in a surprise of Purple Nodding Onion. This year, I am going to try and grow them again, so I can keep up my seed stash. Hopefully the germination on them is still good so I can replenish them.

So, on March 15, I started (in peat pellets):

  • 1x Orange Wellington
  • 1x Black Russian
  • 2x Black Cherry
  • 2x Beefsteak
  • 2x Pink Brandywine
  • 2x Rutgers
  • 2x Cherokee Purple

Here they are starting to sprout – March 20 (5 days)


The Black Cherry, Beefsteak and Rutgers are all new-to me varieties. I’m really excited to test them out. Cherokee Purple is one of my very favourites, so of course I have to grow it again.Orange Wellington, Black Russian and Pink Brandywine are all around for replenishment… and because they were delicious.

Next up will be the slightly shorter season tomatoes. Stay tuned.

Some of the heirloom tomatoes I grew in 2014.  I wish I had saved seed of the Yellow one in the photo, it was delicious, and it came from a mixed pack of seeds.