Ribbons of Kale

IMG_3808

Bliss. A state of flow.

As I uploaded these photos while writing this post, my mind & mood returned to last Sunday morning, when I was cutting kale in the balcony garden. I had felt in harmony with the morning's gentle rhythms & melodies: the singing birds and dozing Westie; the plants reflecting the sun's light & warmth; the breeze gently tapping the blind against the open window.

In another time and place, removing stems and ribs from greens and slicing the leaves into narrow ribbons would have been mind-numbingly tedious but that morning it was soothing -- a perfect fit. Any other task, particularly one producing sound above 30 decibels, would have been incongruous.

IMG_3817

But enough reverie. Time to be practical. In the rest of this post, I'm going to share my gardening notes &  links.

Growing notes:

  1. Inspiration: Back in March I hadn't yet finalized my seed list & planting schedule, but I wasn't planning to sow kale until late summer for a fall/winter crop. A new blog find, though -- the inspirational, educational 365 Days of Kale --  convinced me to move up the sowing date to early spring.
  2. Seeds: Italian Heirloom Kale 'Lacinato'.
  3. Container: 26 cm (10-inch) glazed ceramic pot.
  4. Soil: organic potting soil mix amended generously with vermicompost.
  5. Location: south-facing balcony (with walls on east, west & north sides plus and overhanging roof, which limit the amount of direct sunlight). Plants from the middle to front of the deck receive about 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight from April through June. I moved the plants to take advantage of the best light or provide partial shade on hot afternoons.
  6. Sowing: Directly sowed seeds on the 4th of April.
  7. Germination: Noticed first little sprout on the 10th of April.
  8. Growth phase: A week later thinned seedlings to about 2 inches (5 cm) apart even though package directions said to thin to 10 to 12 inches apart. I planned to keep thinning gradually over the weeks, tossing the baby leaves into salads, but I actually did very little thinning. I'm sure this kept all the leaves small, which suited me as I didn't want to grow T. rex sized leaves of this plant also known as dinosaur kale.
  9. Harvest: On June 14th, I harvested nearly all the leaves from this plant. I forgot to weigh the harvest but the leaves filled a medium salad bowl.

On The Berries I've written a companion post with a recipe and some cooking and nutrition links.

IMG_3829 IMG_3751

IMG_3735 IMG_3830

Recommended reading

  • 365 Days of Kale This is one of Diana Dyer's blogs (now on hiatus). Diana is the lovely, knowledgeable dietitian, gardener and writer who inspired me to grow kale in the spring to early summer garden.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd love to hear about your experiences growing kale, particularly in containers and with different varieties. Please share your growing tips and stories in the comments.