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Blooming-Mar

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Mexican Sage
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-Mar

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb

Kale – Easy to Grow and Eat

Freshly picked red kale

You’d think I’d learn my lesson. Every spring I plant “mesclun” (pronounced mess-cloon). Mesclun is a mixture of lettuces and tender greens for use in salads. They do really well in our cool coastal climate and give me a variety of greens. Most mesclun seed packages contain the seeds of lettuce, arugula, endives, mustard, cresses, and escarole. This year I planted a mesclun package that had kale seeds in it. This has happened before but I’d forgotten how well kale grows here. It grew so large and fast that it pretty much obliterated the smaller greens.

Kale is packed with vitamins and minerals and can be put in salads or cooked. Some varieties have curly, frilly leaves and some are smooth. The seeds in this package were that of red kale.

Kale likes rich soil. Sow seeds in early spring about ½ inch deep and two feet apart. For a fall-winter crop, sow seeds in late September or early October while soil is still warm. Keep the soil moist. Thin plants to 1-½ feet apart.

Kale will keep growing for some time and not go to seed as quickly as mustard greens. Harvest outer leaves as needed for recipes. Young tender leaves are good in salads and older leaves are better cooked.

I cook kale like I cook mustard. Here is a simple and delicious recipe that I made last week.

Recipe for Sautéed Kale

Ingredients:

1 lb. kale

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion thinly sliced

1 clove garlic

Pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins, currants, or dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Cut off tough stems and the center rib of the chard leaf and discard. Cut leaves into 1-inch strips. Cook kale in a 6-quart pot with water, stirring occasionally, or steam in microwave for about 3 minutes just until tender. Drain in a colander.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 6 to 8 minutes). Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring, until garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute). Reduce heat to moderate, then add kale and raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, and salt.

I think you’ll enjoy this easy-to-prepare dish, whether or not you grow kale or buy it at the farmer’s market. I feed my extra kale to my hens and they love it. You can visit them at: backyard hencam. Perhaps you’ll find them eating my overgrown kale.

3 comments to Kale – Easy to Grow and Eat

  • Hi Lee, I just stumbled across your blog and am thrilled to do so! I also live on the Central Coast, in Paso, and am an avid “gardener”. We have a small farm and offer season CSA subscriptions and will be selling at the local Farmers Market come January. Hop on over to my website http://www.beewenchfarm.com if you want! Nice to “meet” you -=Sarah

  • Lee

    Hi Sarah! I did visit your website and loved it. You are very ambitious. I do hope you can make your little farm profitable. Will you be bringing products to our farmers market in Cambria? I’ll be looking for it. Wishing you luck in all your endeavors!

  • Hi Lee, not sure about the Cambria Farmers Market. Im going to start visiting all the different markets to decide which ones I’d like to be at. Thanks!!

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