Tuesday, September 13, 2016

All Hail the Kale

Kale "Richmonds"
Kale "Red Russian"
Kale "Redbor"
Kale "Songbird"
Kale "Glamour"
Kale "Dinosaur"
Kale "Crane Red"
OK, now that you've seen all the beautiful kale carried by Annie's Annuals and Perennials, how about some thoughts about this vegetable and what it can do for you!

There's no doubt Kale can be super nutritional and a benefit for your little body.  I admit, for me, it's a hard sell.  I have to make myself eat Kale, turnip greens, collards and the like.  They remind me of eating something meant for cows - like hay.  Those that were raised on these beneficial greens have a love that holds no boundaries.  Southern cooking would not be complete without a side of greens.  Southern family restaurants don't even ask if you want any, it's expected.

But I'm going for a different take on Kale.  I'm going for the decorative benefits in your flower gardens.  

Kale comes in a multitude of different shapes, sizes and colors.  They aren't invasive nor do they get out of hand and become ugly.  They simply sit there waiting to be picked or admired.  There's also the benefit that they're still beautiful in the fall when other plants are winding down.

Plant sets aren't all that expensive because most of the plant venders still consider them a vegetable.  Once they realize people are using them for landscaping, I expect the price to raise.  We are seeing it with some of the more decorative Kales shown above.  You can still buy traditional Kale in a six-pack set and put those little babies in between other plants and all for less than you'd pay for traditional annuals.  

They can also be raised from seed - an even cheaper option.

If you like the taste of raw or cooked Kale, it can be pinched all season and will come back looking great.  Kale often takes on a stronger or peppery taste in the fall after a light frost making it the perfect time to pick all of it and cook and/or freeze.  

For those of you that haven't ventured into the new decorative Kale world, check out nurseries this coming spring.  It's the plant that just keeps on giving.    

And for those that need that shot of cooked or salad greens, Kale offers a never ending supply of nutrients, texture and color. 

They are easily transplanted from the garden in late fall into pots or near decorative displays.    

In pots, flower beds or vegetable gardens, they are surprisingly beautiful especially in the fall.  

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