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Vegetable of the Month
Kale

 Kale is an ancient descendant of the cabbage family originating from Asia. Heavily used by the Roman Empire and loved by the peasants of the Middle Ages for its earthy flavours and sustenance.

Kale does not do well in hot weather, but doesn’t mind the cold. Kale plants can last for up to two years though (depending on how fast you eat it). In the hotter weather Kale can be used as a 30 day vegetable instead of 60 days.

Kale is an optimal source of

  • Calcium for bones
  • Vitamin C for tissue repair
  • Beta carotene and vitamin e for antioxidant protection
  • Fibre for the bowels and blood sugar regulation
  • Manganese for the production of Superoxide dismutase, the hardest working intra-cellular antioxidant

Kale also contains the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. Studies have shown the protective effect of these nutrients against the risk of cataracts, where increased eye cloudiness leads to blurred vision. In one study, people who have a diet history of eating lutein-rich foods like kale had a 50% lower risk of new cataracts.

Sow the seeds of Kale in late summer through to early spring. Seeds usually germinate within a week. In about four weeks you can plant kale out into the garden. Choose an area with full sun and a soil pH of 6.0-7.00. 

Kale leaves can be used at any time for salads or as garnishes. Just take the outside leaves from the plant this enables the plant to keep producing leaves.

Pest and diseases for kale is cabbage worms, white butterflies, aphids and moths. Maintaining a soil pH of 6.8 and higher will discourage club root. Fungal and bacteria disease on kale such as heat rot and downy mildew can be prevented by allowing good air circulation.

Strong healthy kale growing in an organically rich soil will be better able to fight disease.

Companion plants for kale are bush beans, beets, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onion and potato.

There are many types of kale that can be found. At The Greenhouse we produce five types of kale – Nero Di Toscana, Dwarf Green, Dwarf Scotch, Scotch and Red Russian.

 

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