Once termed 'borecole' in seed catalogues, curly kale, the workhorse of the winter garden, is suddenly in vogue and increasing in popularity. No vegetable is hardier and the young shoots, young leaves and mature leaves can be eaten. It is especially valuable early in the year, when other fresh vegetables are scarce and will tolerate poorer, less well prepared soil than other brassicas. Apply a high-nitrogen top dressing in spring to encourage more side-shoots.
How to Sow and Grow Kales
Sow outdoors: Thinly in a seed bed, 1.5cm(½in) deep directly into finely prepared, moist soil. Allow 45cm(18in) between rows. Seedlings usually appear in 14-28 days. Thin to 45cm(18in) apart. No thinning is necessary if only baby leaves are required. Keep moist. Regular sowings made every 2-3 weeks will ensure a continuous supply. Harvest baby leaves from June.
Sow indoors: 0.5cm(¼in) deep, in a tray of compost. Keep warm and moist, a temperature of approx. 15°C(60°F) is ideal. Transplant 5cm(2in) apart to other trays when large enough to handle. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts), before planting out 45cm(18in) apart. Harvest mature plants from September to March. Protect your crops against birds and caterpillars with Enviromesh.