Grow your own crop of versatile kale
WHETHER you whizz it up in a green smoothie, use in a stir fry, bake into chips, add to a frittata or mix in with pasta or rice dishes, kale is a healthy and versatile vegie that has become increasingly popular over recent years.
Kale is rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, as well as having the health benefits of other plants in the brassica family.
Kale can be sown directly where it is to grow or sown into in trays filled with seed raising mix. The seedlings can then be transplanted into a sunny or semi shade spot when about 4–6cm high. Kale can also be grown in containers, making it ideal for courtyard and balcony gardens. Not only for the vegie patch, Yates Kale has attractive grey foliage and provides a lovely contrast when mixed with flowers in garden beds.
It’s important to feed leafy vegies like kale with a nitrogen-rich complete plant food, with nitrogen being the key nutrient that promotes green leaf growth. A ‘complete’ plant food is one that contains the three main elements for plant growth – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Seaweed alone does not provide plants with all the nutrition they require for healthy growth and can result in poorly performing plants and a reduced harvest.
Protect young kale seedlings from snails and slugs with a light sprinkling of snail and slug pellets. And keep an eye out for small white butterflies which flutter around the vegie patch. They are usually cabbage white butterflies, which lay their yellow eggs on to the leaves of brassica vegies like kale. Tiny caterpillars hatch and soon grow into green caterpillars, about 3cm long, which can decimate leaves. Angie Thomas is a horticulturist at Yates.
◗ Kale is a versatile vegetable that is perfect for winter gardens.