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Kale, the Crop That Keeps On Giving

March 6, 2015
Kale raab

Kale raab

I pulled last year’s kale plants today so I could prep the greenhouse for planting new spring crops.  That kale has been plugging away since last spring.  All summer long we ate kale, all winter long we ate kale and fed the blemished leaves to the hens for winter greens, now we’ve been eating the flower stalks, kale raab. Better than the tenderest spring broccoli, we’ve roasted, we’ve steamed and sometimes chopped the raw raab into salads.  Today I harvested the last and pulled the five foot tall plants to make way for the first transplants of spinach and bok choy. Bye kale, your replacements are already in the wings.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. CassieOz permalink
    March 6, 2015 4:20 pm

    Ha! It never occurred to me to eat the flower buds. How obvious once you think about it. It was pretty cool last night (3C) although days are still warm and I have young translplants of kale, english spinach and green onions to put out some time this weekend. They have to be at least 3/4 full size when the colder weather hits so they will at least hold and crop over winter even when they go (mostly) dormant. I left it too late last year so I have my fingers crossed this time.

    • March 6, 2015 5:35 pm

      They are so delicious! Always good to hear what’s going on in your garden since you’re going into the opposite weather 🙂

  2. March 7, 2015 3:07 am

    I started my kale seedlings last Sunday, and they were up by Weds. They are under lights in the kitchen. So I will have kale soon, if the snow ever melts here in Western Mass….

  3. March 7, 2015 12:38 pm

    I love kale. I have been having a kale and banana smoothie everyday since the New Year!

  4. Adam permalink
    March 7, 2015 6:58 pm

    Howdy Matron,

    Just wanted to get back in touch with you and thank you for the dryland gardening information you gave me last year. If you remember, I’m over in Moscow on the Palouse and your insight and suggestions on how and what to try and grow dryland was incredibly helpful.

    Things went well for me over here:

    1. Potatoes: Dark Red Norland, Yukon Gold, and Russet all worked well for me. I tried Kennebec, but they didn’t work out as well. I wasn’t able to accurately weigh the yield per hill, but it was probably on the lines of 2-3pds/hill and I was satisfied with it.

    2. Squash: Mainly tried winter squash and considering that my only watering was about 3 x per plant w/ 5 gal. bucket (direct via 1/2 hole in bucket) for the entire season (stopped mid-June when creek dried up), I was happy with things. Grew butternut, acorn, delicata, fairy kabocha. Also tried couple of summer squash and cuke plants and both did well also.

    3. Turnips, Carrots, Beets: All of these did pretty darn well, especially the turnips – they were outstanding; beets and carrots (those that germinated), did well too.

    4. Tomatoes: Tried a few and they did ok, but seemed pretty stressed.

    5. Peppers: Did surprisingly well – especially the Jalapeno and Thai peppers. Sweet peppers did ok.

    6. Corn: So-so.

    7. Onions: Did better than I expected. Bulbs did not get very big, but again, I don’t think I gave them a drop of supplemental water, so I was very happy w/ what I got.

    8. Dry beans: not so good, didn’t water at all (once to try and help germination), so couldn’t give them enough attention I believe.

    All in all, a great experiment, enjoyed it thoroughly and still eating winter squash!

    This year, we may have some irrigation to the site, so I may modify spacing to allow for a bit more production, wider variety of crops, we’ll see.

    Things are drying up over here hoop houses are planted with greens and a few other things, plenty started and soon ready to go in the ground under some protection.

    Look forward to watching how your season goes over there!


  5. March 7, 2015 8:09 pm

    bittersweet, on multiple levels!

  6. Terry gray permalink
    March 8, 2015 3:40 pm

    Who knew. The chickens will no longer get the kale that flowers. Thank you for once again pointing out the obvious.

  7. JessB permalink
    March 11, 2015 4:52 am

    I had a kale plant that lasted 4 years. My neighbor joked that it needed to retire and draw social security. The amount of food we got of that one plant was astounding. RIP kale plant.

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