Growing your own: Kale | Life and style | The Guardian: "Winterbor and Redbor are reliable curly kale growers (both F1 hybrids). The Redbor is a particularly attractive, rich-red variety"
Sow: April to June
Plant: June to August
Harvest: September to May
This tough old brassica can withstand extreme temperatures and often succeeds where other cabbage-patch kids fail.
Recommended varieties: "Winterbor and Redbor are reliable curly kale growers (both F1 hybrids). The Redbor is a particularly attractive, rich-red variety," says Joy Larkcom.
Sowing and planting: Sow in modules from mid- to late spring. Seedlings will appear after 7-12 days. Once established (6-8 weeks after sowing) transplant to their final position, spacing them in rows 45cm apart. Water plants thoroughly before moving and "puddle-in" to their final position.
Cultivation: Look after young plants by watering during dry patches and keep weeded. Tread around the base of the stem every so often to prevent the larger varieties swaying in the breeze. Remove yellowing leaves, "earth up" the stems and stake tall varieties if exposed (kale can handle exposed, slightly shady plots).
Pests and diseases: Yet another reason to grow kale - it's rarely bothered by the dreaded banes of the brassica family.
Harvesting: Kale is a frost-hardy cut-and-come-again plant. Young leaves can be picked from autumn to mid-spring. Remove leaves with a sharp knife as required (mature or yellowing leaves won't have the same bite). Once the crown has been stripped, the plant will grow side shoots which you can harvest between February and May. When flower buds form and stems turn coarse, stop picking.
Storage: Spring leaves can be frozen, but cut-and-come-again cropping will provide you with fresher leaves.
Extending the season: Dwarf varieties can be harvested 14 weeks after sowing and allow you to cram more crop into your patch. Sow in situ in early summer in rows 18cm apart. Harvest after they reach 15cm. Dwarf varieties also make great cut-and-come-again crops. Sow in situ and harvest when the plant is about 5cm high.
Growing without a veg plot: Dwarf varieties are perfect - try Showbor and Dwarf Green Curled.
Kale - Companion:
beets, celery, cucumbers, dill, garlic, hyssop, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onions, potatoes, rosemary, sage, spinach, swiss chard
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