The results are in… Kale is a beast.
Branded a Super-Food, Kale has been a popular vegetable over the last few years because of its nutritional characteristics. It’s an easy-going plant and will take whatever you throw at it, hot summers, cold winters, average soil, drought and even waterlogged conditions.
But for me, Kale stands for much more. It taught me that against all odds life will surprise you and if you let it, nature will adapt and find a path to flourish.
Three years ago, I purchased a stalk of Kale from the local farmer market around winter time. I took it home, stripped it of its leaves and made a tasty meal. As it was snowing, I opened the back door and launched the butchered kale stalk straight onto the snow-covered garden bed hoping it would eventually break down and return to the soil aka compost.
Anyway, five months passed and spring arrived. I excitedly went outside to start prepping the garden to grow some food that year when I came across the sorry looking stalk laying on its side. I tried picking it up, but to my surprise it had grown roots and attached itself to the earth.
I laughed out loud and thought to myself WTF? This thing is tougher than a Russian power lifters jock strap.
Having seen this crazy miracle of life with my own eyes, I decided it deserved a second chance so I planted it in an upright position as an experiment to see what would come.
Within 3 months it had grown many new leaves and being its second year in existence, it flowered and went to seed. There were literally hundreds of seeds. I’m telling you, the Norwegian seed vault would have been proud.
I continued eating the leaves as they grew (mean eh?) and saved the seeds. Even a tree fell on it breaking it in half, and the thing still survived!! It eventually died, but was a tough little bugger until the end.
It is now one of my favorite crops. It will never give up. If all else fails, there’s Kale. The seeds are easy to collect and grow consistently well. A perfect crop for the self-sufficient gardener.
I have Kale growing in the garden right now from the same seed I collected from the invincible stalk two years ago.
If you’re not having much luck with gardening start with some Kale. My soil sucks and it takes full heat in the summer +30C and will just about survive at -30C in the winter. Plus, you have the added health bonus of eating this nutritious leafy green. As my father used to tell me “eat your greens son, it’ll put lead in your pencil”.
I am currently conducting an experiment to see which variables and conditions are best for growing kale. I don’t want my kale to struggle, I want it to reach its full potential. I will post the results as soon as they are in, watch this space.