Versatile Kale

September 8, 2005

Kale is one of my favorite plants for many reasons. It’s nutritious, and great tasting, especially for the home gardener who can grow choice varieties and harvest the fresh leaves when they are young and tender. Kale is very hardy and can survive through the extremes of both hot and cold weather.

Delicious Kale Greens Grow Almost Year-Round

A single planting in the spring will produce fresh greens from April through December, with little care required. Kale plants easily survive frigid Pennsylvania winters in the open without protection. Each spring I have mature three-foot tall and two-foot wide plants in my garden that survived through the winter and are loaded with tasty greens.

To top it off, kale is a very ornamental plant, which can be cultivated in a variety of colors, shapes, and leaf textures. It’s also a great plant to incorporate into an ornamental vegetable garden, and some types can even be used to add interest and variety to your favorite flowerbeds.

I usually make two plantings of kale, one in early spring, and another in late summer. Kale can be started indoors, or planted directly into the garden. It is not troubled much by insect pests, but is sometimes attacked by aphids and cabbageworms in the fall, however these pests can be easily controlled.

Favorite Ornamental and Flavorful Kale Varieties

My favorite varieties of kale seeds are “Wild Kale Mix” and “Tuscan Black Palm Kale”. The wild kale mix will supply you with a wide range of colors and leaf shapes from a single packet of seed for this tasty variety. Black Palm kale, also known as Lacinato, Dinosaur kale, or Nero Di Toscana, is the favored variety grown in Italy. It can grow four feet tall and has dark bluish green leaves that whorl around the plant in a manner like the leaves of a palm tree. The leaves also have a unique texture that is crinkled with a blistered appearance.

Other popular kale seed varieties include: Red Russian, Siberian, Red Ursa, White Russian, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Konserva, Redbor, Winterbor, Premier, Hanover Salad and Starbor.

For more details on growing versatile kales and other delicious vegetables to create a productive and ornamental vegetable garden pick up the “Amazing Secrets to Growing Luscious Fruits and Vegetables at Home.”

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Barnes April 3, 2008 at 11:02 am

where can I order Tuscan black palm kale

Kenny Point April 4, 2008 at 1:01 am

Barbara, there are a number of heirloom seed suppliers that carry black palm kale seeds. Try Nichols Garden Nursery or Seeds from Italy. It is also known as Lacinato kale.

mary January 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I am trying to locate redbor kale and can’t seem to find it anywhere. T@M used to have it but now I see they have one called “Scarlet Kale” and no redbor. I don’t know what the color difference will be as I love the redbor and grow it my garden as an ornamental.
Does anyone know of a source.

Kenny Point January 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Hi Mary, Fedco carries Redbor Kale. Another great source for some unusual heirloom kales is Sustainable Seed Company. Then you will also find some colorful kales and broccoli over at Wild Garden Seeds.

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