"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eternal Kale, Collards, and Chicory

In a previous post, Our Boreal Garden, I mentioned the transplanting of kale rootstock. Kale and collard greens that have been overwintered either in our garden or replanted from the root cellar can be expected to bring forth new growth in the very early spring. One of the advantages of this compared to direct seeding is that one should be able to achieve much larger leaf growth early on as the roots have already been developed and most of the plants energy is directed towards leafing out and going to seed. We usually have a good one or two months in which we are able to harvest the leaves before warm temperatures cause the plants to bolt.

For us, this procedure works one of two ways. In the spring we can plant kale and collards for large winter greens and the plants are normally harvested all the way into January at which time the cold (in our area) often forces the plant into a period of dormancy. We also plant these same greens in the early fall and are usually able harvest the much smaller, less mature plants throughout the winter months as they often retain thier leaves. The smaller kale tend to bolt much more quickly in the spring. Either way they both provide for us much sooner then any plants that have been directly seeded into the cold spring garden.

The above also applies to the various forms of chicory we grow in our gardens.


Silke said...

We planted kale last fall thinking that we'd have kale during the winter. It all came up, but then sort of went dormant until now that it's getting warmer. Now it's growing like crazy and so I made roasted organic sweet potatoes and kale for lunch today. So good!! I get the feeling it gets much too warm here for chicory, but collard we could grow, being in the South. Your greens look wonderful!! :) Silke

Mr. H said...

Hi Silke,

Roasted sweet potatoes and kale...now that sounds good! We make a kale and potatoe soup that is most delicious as well. The first greens of spring always taste the best.


SuburbanGardener said...

Mr. H, That is helpful info about the kale. We are enjoying the kale very much in our salads. Thanks for the tips.

Mr. H said...

Hello SuburbanGardener,

That's great, we are big on kale and other biennial greens because they are just so versatile both in the garden and kitchen.

If you ever get a chance take a look at this "Seeds of Change" article on the many health benefits of kale.

Just page down on my sidebar and click on the picture of kale under "Homegrown Pharmacy". For some reason I can't post the link in the comment section.


SuburbanGardener said...

Mr. H, I had to search around for the article even though it was right in front of me. But I noticed you have a ton of reference material linked here. That is awesome. The article was very informative too. We have been adding a little kale to our salads every day and it is great to read about the benefits of it.

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