Kale is a member of the cabbage family that does not form a head. The thick leaves are very nutritious and used raw in salads, steamed, stir fried, or microwaved. It is popular in Europe and the Third World. It is easy to grow and very nutritious. In America kale never reached the popularity of its cousins like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts because like collards and other leafy vegetables it takes up too much shelf space in the produce section to make it profitable. Colors range from light green to a deep purple. Kale is especially useful as a fall crop and reacts well to light to moderate frosts which enrich its flavor and color. Curly leaf varieties have heavily fringed edges that add to its ornamental value but make it difficult to clean.
Plant seed at least a month before the last frost date, the same as collards. In North Texas kale is planted in the fall for a supply all winter. It takes cold weather into the mid 20’s without a problem. Like related crops surround the plants with a layer of Nature’s Guide Organic Compost or Nature’s Guide Cotton Burr Compost at least an inch deep to protects the roots from all but the coldest weather for winter and early spring harvesting.
Kale has few insect pests when planted as a fall crop. Cold weather kills the insects before they damage the kale.
The compost keeps the roots cooler in the spring and extends the harvest. A few very warm days set off the plant’s biological clock and it will rapidly bolt and become leggy. At this point remove the plants to the compost pile.