Thursday, September 3, 2009
Success with Kale
I was looking at my raised beds last night and thinking, I'm not really a gardener, but rather a dabbler. I dabble in the garden. Every year my beds are a big mish-mosh of random plantings. This is the first year I've taken notes and drawn good illustrations so that next year I can plant much more efficiently and rotate my crops, but that's a long way away. Right now, thanks to my childlike enthusiasm to just plant a few seeds here and a few seeds there, everything is still mish-moshy. I do follow many of the rules about companion planting and what to plant to attract beneficial insects, but really my beds end up looking more like a wacky finger-painting.
My most successful crop this year has been the kale, Black Tuscan Kale from Uprising Seeds in Bellingham, WA. Oddly enough I didn't even like kale when I planted it. Why then did I plant it, you ask? Good question. If I can see clearly enough through the fog of my brain, back to May, I think I was trying to plant things that grow better in our mild and rainy climate. Well, we all know it was anything but mild and rainy this year, but the kale didn't seem to mind. It grew and grew; we picked a bunch and it grew and grew, and so we picked some more. And still the rows of kale are pretty and lush. It also didn't get bothered by bugs or disease, YEAH! (Maybe that had to do with the rows of scallions I planted in-between the rows of kale to ward off pests.)
And I discovered a way to cook it that makes it taste delicious. Cut out the hard, bitter, middle stem. Saute it with lots of chopped garlic and olive oil on medium for a few minutes and then on high for a minute or two to kind of caramelize it. Turn off the heat and squeeze a slice of lemon over it. Fabulous!
Lily doesn't so much share my enthusiasm for kale, eating it or harvesting it. She likes to run her hands across the leaves, but that's about it.