Sunday, January 18, 2009

checking on the mid winter kale

digging for kale kale 2
kale 3 red russian kale
I went out to the garden this morning to check on the kale. I haven't been out there in a few days. I didn't realize we had more snow coming in, but there is another fresh layer coming down. I had to dig down to find the kale.

The more tender Red Russian kale has frost damage. Little round spots on the leaves. Last year, once it got these it looked terrible after bringing it inside and thawing. This happened at 10*F last year. Our temps got down to about 8* over the past few nights.

But the curly Winterbor looks good. This is the first year I've grown this variety. I've read it can survive the winter. We just finished up a big pot of kale soup I made a few days ago. Yummy. Maybe I'll pick some to saute tonight.

Kale (Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group)


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of the Winterbor.... how does it taste compared to some of the other more common kale varieties? My kale died a while back, after all the info about them being winter-hardy. I love kale though, so I might try Winterbor.... looking forward to hearing how it works for you.

Dan said...

Does the Tuscan Kale make it through the winter?

kathy said...

Tuscan is just like the Red Russian for me - OK down to 10*F. That means its very tasty for only a month or so between the first frost, usually Nov 1, and mid Jan, when our temps dip.

I'm not sure where my Tuscan kale is now. I should have marked it with tall stakes.

I didn't pick/cook the Winterbor tonight as I was hoping but will try again tomorrow. Just to see if it tastes as good a it looks.

I've also read that White Russian is very hardy. I'll experiment with some hardy types next year.

I really like the look and flavor of Tuscan kale and will grow this more tender variety again next year along with the hardier ones.

kathy said...

Taste - The Winterbor is delicious. Though I think Tuscan is a little bit better/sweeter. But I think Winterbor is what I see mostly in stores here - more so than others - no?

Kateri said...

Interesting. I grow Red Russian Kale, and it generally does not survive the winter. I will have to experiment with some of the hardier varieties. Your kale sure does look good! What are the temps like there? (I'm sure being covered in snow helps it survive as well.)

Jean said...

By Tuscan kale do you mean the decorative one that grows tall and looks like a palm tree? I bought one last fall, as a novelty. (In zone 7, Washington DC,) it grew just fine over the winter and cooked up sweet and delicious. I let it grow and go to seed. Now at the beginning of August it is still alive, but the leaves are small and bitter. It was so good I grew some from seed. The new plants are about 28 inches tall and the leaves are sweet and tender, even in the summer heat. I hope they will live over the winter, too.

When I had a large garden here we planted curly kale. It grew well in the fall and sort of sat in the winter; tasted terrible. The new growth in the spring was a surprise: it was sweet and tasted like peppermint. I think the sweetness came from the massive amount of dolomite lime I had spread on the soil. Everything was sweet and tender, tomatoes, squash, corn the kale, and melons out of this world.
Dolomite limestone seems to be hard to get - Lowes and Home Depot don't stock it. It does make the difference, because it has magnesium in it. Apparently that was the source of the veggies sweet taste. Where the peppermint taste came from is a mystery.