Kale: Hearty and frost hardy

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When temperatures drop, your appetite for hearty pleasures increases. Kale, also called feather or kale cabbage, is particularly popular in the cool north, especially in East Frisia - but even the south has long come to the taste. Early varieties such as 'Vitessa' can be recognized by the light green, finely curled leaves. In the extremely frost hard, late varieties they are dark to blue-green in color and initially little curled in the lower to middle stalk section. Only in the course of winter, the ripple increases. Traditional varieties such as 'Ostfriesische Palme' become man-high on nutrient-rich soils. On the other hand, knee-high breeds such as 'Low Green Krauser' are dwarfish - but the perennials are also stable under a thick layer of snow.

Cultivate kale

Kale redbor

Red kale 'Redbor' is an eye catcher in the kitchen garden. When cooking, the cabbage but green again.

Sowing is from May to the end of June (distance 50 x 50 centimeters). If you want to pull several varieties, the content of seed packets, about 30 grains, is usually too much. Tip: If you store the surplus cool and dry, the seeds remain germinable for up to six years. Who buys early seedlings from the gardener, can plant until mid-July. A tablespoon of algae lime in the plant hole prevents carbon hernia, but even more important is a wide crop rotation: like all cabbage species, kale may not be grown at the same place again after four years at the earliest. The considerable nutrient hunger during the main growing season is quenched with organic vegetable fertilizer or it adds a dash of nettle gout every one to two weeks to the irrigation water.

Harvest kale

Harvest kale

After the harvest of kale, connoisseurs prefer the particularly delicate leaves from the center of the stalk and at the shoot tip.

The harvest begins at the earliest in mid-October and lasts until the end of February. It has long been believed that the plants develop their full aroma only by frost effect. It is true that the longer the cabbage is exposed to winter temperatures, the sweeter and milder the flavor. Minus degrees are not essential. If you want to extend your enjoyment, you should use a proven gardening trick: If you individually peel off the leaves at harvest time and leave the stalk standing, the plants will drive out again in milder weather. The spring leaves are particularly tender and are ideal for salad.

Combat kale pests naturally

The white fly is a common cabbage pest. The insects are sitting on the underside of leaves and sucking plant juice. On the sticky excretions settle soot mushrooms. Remedy: Use biological preparations (for example Neudosan aphid-free, organic insect-free neem).
The caterpillars of the cabbage white pollute the leaves with their feces. You can eat young plants and larger perennials in a short time bald. Oviposition can be prevented by covering the bed with vegetable nets after planting. The mixed culture with tomatoes and celery has proved its worth.

Video Board: Top 8 Cold Hardy Crops That Thrived During Polar Vortex (Zone 5).

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