Kale: Westland Winter Brassica oleracea var. sabellica
Kale is a really worthwhile vegetable to grow and it has had a real resurgence in popularity over the last few years. You can harvest it from late Summer and all the way through the Winter and even into early Spring. There are quite a few varieties and leaves can be flat, lightly blistered, jagged, or tightly curled. Colour varies too through black, purple, red and green. The flavour is sweet with a hint of iron. It tastes fantastic and is good for us too.
Westland Winter forms a large, spreading plant with tightly-curled, blue-green leaves. It is very hardy and is ideal for cutting from October to March. Very high yielding.
How to grow: Grow in the Brassica section of your rotation. Sow seed in April and May in a seed bed. Sprinkle seed in shallow drills allowing 15cm between the rows. There is no need to thin the seedlings. Around July time, when the young plants are about 10-15cm tall, transplant into the permanent growing site. Dig a planting hole and replant quite deeply spacing them about 45cm apart. Water well. Harvest from October until February. You can take individual leaves or cut the main head but leave the plants in as they will produce lots of side shoots. Pests and diseases: The seedlings will be prone to slug damage so you may need to protect them with an environmentally friendly slug killer. Brassica can also attract cabbage white butterflies, the caterpillar of which cause huge damage to plants. Use a barrier to protect them. Netting with Environmesh is the best method we have found. How to cook: The young leaves can be eaten raw in salads. Some recipes suggest massaging the leaves with olive oil to tenderise them. Usually the leaves are steamed just enough to make them tender, there is no need to overcook. We also use the leaves as a spinach substitute in cannelloni and pancakes.
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