I look back now with the wisdom of a world of lettuces and see that the tupperware and iceburg corporations were making huge profit from diluting our diversity. Salad greens were not introduced to us by friends and bloggers but worked their way into our white culture via advertising.
It didn't take long for Cos to break onto the scene, followed by Rocket and Mesclun Mix. Then came Kale of course. Kale was a liberator. Along with Kale came an understanding that greens could do more than make salad - they could provide iron, minerals and proteins and we started to explore the cultures from which they came. We started to grow them at home. And, as we grow our own food are we also growing our own thoughts? Are we enjoying our liberation and sharing our thought seeds with others?
Because today we no longer need be confined to one culture (or lettuce). 🌱
How to grow Kale
Anyway, here's some tips on growing this hardy and abundant beauty.
1. Prepare the soil. Kale is a hungry feeder and the more nutritious you can make the soil, the more abundant the Kale will be. If making a garden from scratch, add layers of lucerne hay, a dusting of dry chook poo, or a dosing of cow/horse poo, more straw and organic fertiliser. Add a final deep layer of good compost to plant into.
2. Buy seedlings or grow from seed. My favourite way is to buy seedlings from a local organic seedling grower as I know they were grown from locally- adapted organic seed and have had the best start to life. This also makes growing easier as I don't have to do the seedling-raising stage. My favourite variety is Tuscan; Cavolo Nero and the purple one, I think its called Red Winter.
3. Plant into soil about 40cm apart (yes, they are going to be large!), apply diluted C-weed liquid fertiliser to help calm the shock of being planted, top with straw mulch and sit back and enjoy looking at the little darlings. If you have native animals that may like to eat the little darlings, then put a wire covering over them, anything you can find.
4. Water every day and add liquid nutrients like worm juice, diluted C-Weed and any other natural liquid fertiliser from time to time. If you already have nutrient rich soil and keep it well mulched the soil will stay moist and you won't need to water or feed with liquid goodies so often.
5. Harvest when looking ready (in about 8 weeks). Snap off leaves from the lowest part first and leave the rest to keep growing. You can get many harvests from the same plant. Joy!
Need more info? Here's two great books: Organic Vegetable Gardening by Annette McFarlane and No-Dig Gardening & Leaves of Life by Esther Deans.