What Is This Plant?
Kale is from the Cruciferae family and can be hidden under other names – kale, brauncol, bruncol, gruncol, or just kale cabbage. But, unlike its cabbage “relatives”, this variety does not form a head of cabbage but gives its harvest in the form of fabulously curly leaves.
Depending on the type, it can represent a lush leaf rosette or develop in the form of a “palm tree”, sometimes reaching a height of 1 m. purple robes, the very place in the flower garden, because it can give odds to many decorative cultures.
Today you will learn more about the varieties, benefits, and the best ways, and the best time to plant kale.
This collard greens is one of the first plant-based foods in terms of protein and can be an excellent alternative to meat. In addition, it contains 25 essential amino acids, and the content of omega-3 fatty acid in its leaves is equal to the amount of this substance in fish products.
A glass of freshly made smoothie or a plate of cabbage leaf salad will be enough to fill the body’s daily need for vitamin A. Especially valuable vitamins of group B, PP, C, K, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Separately, it is worth mentioning calcium, which in the leaves of kale contains the same amount as in dairy products. And this despite the fact that there is only 50 kcal in 100 g of feces! She is simply irreplaceable in dietary nutrition.
If you want to get the most out of eating kale, the leaves should be fresh first. Also, kale leaves can be added into soups, vegetable stews or to prepare light side dishes for meat and fish, toppings for pies from kale or to prepare for the winter (ferment, pickle, dry, freeze). As they say, there would be a fantasy and a desire to include this dietary and healthy product in the ratio.
Young leaves of this plant have a delicate texture and lack the astringency and bitterness that are characteristic of older leaves.
But undoubtedly it is easy to get rid of this bitterness if you put the leaves in the freezer for a while before eating. The same effect will happen right on the garden bed after the plant gets under the first autumn frosts.
Of course, you ask how to plant kale properly? And we are glad to answer you. Read further.
Growing kale is no different from the growing of simple white cabbage we are used to. But if we plant the latter exclusively in the garden, then for broccoli we can allocate a place even in the flower garden – this plant looks so beautiful and unusual throughout the summer season. Curly leaves of kale will look spectacular both next to other flower crops and in splendid isolation, especially if you plant multi-colored varieties nearby.
How to grow kale? And what kale growing stages are there? An important feature of kale is its amazing cold resistance. Plants can withstand frosts down to -18 ° C without losing either the decorative effect of the leaves or their beneficial properties. Moreover, under the influence of low temperatures, the leaves of feces acquire a richer color and a pleasant sweetish aftertaste.
Kale does not like transplanting, so it is better of planting kale seeds right away on a bed under a film shelter in mid or late April, and then thin out the seedlings. If we say when to plant kale there is no opportunity to go to the dacha within these terms, then kale is sown for seedlings in late March or early April. It is truly kale growing season.
For this purpose, it is better to grow kale from seeds, the cells of which are filled with a light fertile substrate, spilled with warm water, and 2-3 pre-soaked seeds are placed in each, deepening them by 1 cm. After the emergence of shoots, one strongest sprout must be left in each cell.
Seedling care is carried out according to the next principle:
- regular watering
- supplementary lighting of seedlings with fluorescent lamps
- feeding and maintaining the temperature in the room not higher than + 16 … + 18 °C.
Kale seedlings should be watered sparingly, without waterlogging the soil, otherwise, the seedlings may be damaged by a blackleg.
Any complex organometal preparations that are used according to the instructions are suitable for feeding. In order for the babies to develop well, they need to be fertilized twice: 12-14 days after germination and repeat the procedure after 2 weeks.
Seedlings are planted in the open ground when weather conditions are favorable. The garden bed is placed in a sunny place and pre-fertilized with hummus and mineral fertilizers. If the soil on the site is acidic, wood ash is additionally introduced for digging (up to 0.5 kg per m²). On heavy clay soils, in addition, you need to add half a bucket of rotted sawdust for each m² of the garden.
The earthen lump of each seedling is carefully squeezed out of the cells and transferred to the holes, which are placed on the bed with an interval of 30-40 cm. The feces are buried to the lower leaves, the soil is compacted around the stems, and the holes are abundantly spilled with settled water.
This plant is very frost-resistant, in autumn it can withstand strong sub-zero (-15 ° C) temperatures. It tastes even better after defrosting!
Transplanting kale in open ground is carried out at the moment when the seedlings reach a height of 10-12 cm, and on each individual bush, there are 4-5 developed full-fledged leaves. Before rooting in open ground, the soil on the backyard is prepared in advance. It should be dug up, debris removed, and all weeds removed.
Pests and Diseases
Kale is also affected by the same diseases and pests as her white-headed “relative”. At the first signs of fungal diseases (keela, powdery mildew, and peronosporosis, white and gray rot, etc.), plantings are treated with a permitted fungicide according to the instructions (Topsin-M, Khom, Alirin-B, and others). Plants in an advanced stage of the disease are best removed from the general plantation.
The succulent leaves of kale can be attacked by white worm and moth caterpillars, aphids, cruciferous flea beetles, cabbage moth, and other harmful insects. They get rid of them with the help of insecticides (“Aliot”, “Decis”, “Aktofit”, and others).
Harvesting and storage
And how fast does kale grow? Depending on the variety, kale begins to yield its harvest 2-3 months after germination.
You have to watch, when the rosette of kale leaves reaches a height of 20-25 cm, you can start cutting the first leaves. The younger the cabbage leaves, the more tender and tasty they will be. It is best to cut them in the early morning when they are saturated with moisture as much as possible.
In the refrigerator, feces leaves are stored for up to a week. When frozen, cabbage does not lose its beneficial properties for six months. But the best option would be to prepare a vitamin salad or smoothie from curly leaves as soon as they are plucked from the garden.
Types and Varieties
There are not very many varieties, but there are plenty to choose from. If you ask: about planting kale, you can choose the one suitable for your climatic conditions:
Curly cabbage is the most popular type of kale. It has a softer and sweeter taste compared to other species. As the name suggests, its leaves are very curly and wrinkled.
- Tuscan cabbage – has thin, oblong leaves with a wrinkled structure.
- Premier cabbage is a fast-growing frost-hardy species.
- Siberian cabbage is resistant to pests and low temperatures.
- Red Russian – differs from Siberian in expressive red winding leaves.
- Redbor F1 cabbage is red or dark purple, which is why it is often used to add color to dishes.
- Reed – can grow to a height of 1.9 m. It is characterized by a thick stem that can be used as a cane.
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