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(Brassica oleracea) Kale may be the hardiest of the cabbage kin. It excels in cold weather, tasting best after frost has kissed the tender, succulent leaves, and making moderate growth whenever there is even a slight warm spell. Start in containers indoors or direct seed in the garden in late June. May also be sown indoors for early spring planting. Kale thrives in rich soil, heavy on organic matter, and moistureretentive but well drained.
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Blue Curled Scotch Kale
A truly astounding superfood, Blue Curled Scotch kale is packed with health promoting properties, including a range of antioxidants, as studies have also shown kale to have anti-inflammatory properties, as well potential ability to aid in cancer prevention. In a side-by-side study of different kale varieties, curled kales were shown to have the highest concentration of glucosinolates, which studies have shown to have anti-cancer properties. Aside from an incredible host of health benefits, Blue Curled Scotch kale has a pleasant sweet and nutty kale flavor, and is perfect for kale chips.
Dazzling Blue Kale
This smoky blue lacinato type kale has become a favorite of gardeners and market farmers. Bred by Frank Keough of Avoca Farms, Dazzling Blue kale is considered a prime example of the renaissance in modern open-source plant breeding. It boasts unparalleled cold hardiness and fantastic purple and blue leaves.
Jagallo Nero Kale
Jagallo Nero is by far the best tasting, sweetest and most tender kale we have trialled! The blue-green, deeply cut leaves also have ornamental appeal. This succulent and mild kale hails from Europe and is a favorite of world-renowned chef Peter Gilmore of Sydney, Australia. This mouth-watering variety is ideal for raw preparations, as the flavor is highly gourmet on its own and needs little adornment.
Nero Di Toscana Cabbage (Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale)
60 days. This loose-leafed cabbage dates back to the early 1800s at least. It has beautiful, heavily savoyed, deep black-green leaves that can be 24 inches long. This Italian heirloom is popular in Tuscany and central Italy for making fabulous soups and stews and is one of the most beautiful and flavorful types you can grow.
Ornamental Fringed Mix Kale
This lovely mix contains pretty shades of pink, purple, and white. Contrasts nicely with the deep green outer leaves. Also known as Flowering Kale, the plants look like huge frilly flowers. The leaves make a superb garnish and are good as cooked greens. Best grown as a fall plant because colors are more intense in cool weather.
Red Ursa Kale
From Portugal, Germany, and China, kale has made traditional soups and provided people with their staple greens. While Red Ursa is a relatively new addition to the rainbow of kales, its roots run deep. The Red Russian and Siberian kales originate from northern Europe and northern Asia, and some of the varieties have been traced back to Russian traders migrating to Canada in the late 1800s. Kale is a crop that has evolved and cross-pollinated over the years, and Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed in Corvallis, Oregon, has kept this tradition going with his kale breeding efforts. In the ‘90s he crossed a Siberian Kale with a Red Russian Kale to form what is now Red Ursa. In 1997, Red Ursa was entered into the National Variety trials and chosen as one of the top five vegetables of the year! This extra frilly version of a Red Russian kale with striking dark red to purple stems and rich green leaves. Tastes like kale should with meaty leaves complemented by a sweet stem. A delight eaten raw or cooked. (65 days to maturity, 24-inches tall and wide).
Russian Red or Ragged Jack Kale
50 days. A highly nutritious kale variety with eye-catching color and form, Russian red is very tender and mild at any size, but especially well suited to use as baby greens. The oak-type leaves of this pre-1885 heirloom variety have a red tinge, and the stems are purplish-red, adding color to the garden and the dinner plate!
Grow mammoth-sized kale that remains tender even as the leaves grow to an astounding 3 feet long. In “The Vegetable Garden” in 1885, French seed house Vilmorin mentioned this ancient variety from the U.K. as a productive, multi-branching type that also goes by the name “branching borecole.” Vilmorin also noted that the variety originally hailed from western France. Peter Miller of Kings Seed mentioned that Thousandhead kale was long appreciated in the UK as a fodder crop, but it has been rediscovered as a tasty culinary variety. Its leaf structure also makes for easier pest management. Those who have struggled with cabbage worms understand how caterpillars love to hide in the folds of curly kale leaves. This variety is just lightly curled at the edges, making caterpillars easier to spot and treat! This seed was sourced from Kings Seed of England; the King family has been in the seed business for centuries. John Kemp King began selling seeds in 1793; his grandson Ernest William began Kings Seeds, and it has been in business for 130 years! Kings Seed is the last remaining horticultural wholesale seed house in England and is still a family affair. Miller has worked for the company 55 years, and his grandfather also worked for Kings since 1913!
(Couve tonchuda) or Portuguese Kale. A bit more heat tolerant than other kales, for a longer harvest period on either end of winter season. Leaves are large, flat, rounded, similar to collard, but very large and with very prominent white veins, earning some strains a variety name of “costata,” meaning “ribbed.” The leaves are more succulent, and the flavor is more cabbage-like than other kales. The fleshy stems or petioles are enjoyed as well. Definitely an exciting addition to an already illustrious
Walking Stick Kale
Walking Stick kale is the stuff of legend. We remember reading about this fascinating plant in the seed catalogs of yesteryear. Also known as Tall Jacks, Jersey Cabbage or Cow Cabbage, this extra-tall kale is said to grow up to 20 feet in its native range, with an average of 6-12 feet in our gardens. Grown in Europe for centuries, mostly on the island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, where its long sturdy stalks were varnished and turned into canes. The leaves are also considered excellent forage for animals with the most tender, young greens reserved for table use. Its many unusual uses, coupled with its strikingly tall stature, make it a standout variety from antiquity that we are delighted to see reintroduced to home growers.