Posts Tagged ‘growing vegetables’

Fascinating Facts: Kale

February 1st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments


Botanical name: Brassica oleracea var. Sabellica

Origins: Both the ancient Greeks and Romans ate leafy greens believed to be ancestors of the Kale varieties we eat today, consuming them as medicine as well as food. By the middle ages, Kale had widely spread through Europe and Asia.

First cultivated: Kale has been cultivated for over 2000 years.

Types: There are numerous varieties of Kale, popular ones include: Cavolo Nero, Curly Scarlet, Redbor Kale and Red Russian

Skill level:  Easy/Intermediate

Preferred location and conditions: Kale tolerates most conditions but requires nitrogen-rich, free-draining soil.

Good for containers: Yes

Harvest time: September to May

Planting and growing: Sow seeds from March to June, ensuring the soil remains moist. Flat leaved kales should be sown in situ but you can start off curly varieties in modules. Plant out from May to July at spacings of at least 45cm, ‘puddling’ the plants with plenty of water.

Possible problems:   Birds can be a problem, so it’s advisable to net the plants.


Did you know?

Kale is an excellent addition to any vegetable garden. Hardy and disease-resistant, it can adapt to most conditions and is one of the easiest brassicas to grow. It is also one of the most nutrient-rich. Hailed as a superfood, a serving of Kale contains more absorbable calcium than a small carton of milk. It’s low in calories, high in fibre and packed full of antioxidants. It’s high in vitamins A, C, E and K and rich in folate, manganese, magnesium, iron and potassium. It’s beneficial for the brain, heart, bones, skin, eyes and hair and has been linked to lowering the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

In much of Europe, Kale was once the most widely-eaten green vegetable. It thrived in cold climates because of its resistance to frost (which makes it taste sweeter), and was so commonly eaten in Scotland, that ‘kail’ became the generic word for dinner and all kitchens featured a ‘kail-pot’ for cooking. ‘Kailyard’ was a Scottish colloquialism for vegetable garden, and the term lent itself to the Kailyard School of Literature, a critically reviled group of Scottish writers (including Peter Pan author, J. M. Barrie) who revelled in sentimental descriptions of life in rural Scotland in the late 19th century.

Kale slipped out of fashion after the Middle Ages, when cabbage became more popular. Despite a brief renaissance during the Dig for Victory campaign of World War II, people stopped eating kale, and it was more commonly used in cattle feed. At the start of the 21st century, kale started to regain popularity, and after being named a ‘superfood’ in 2008, and with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, interest in the vegetable skyrocketed.

Kale remains one of the trendiest vegetables available, adapting itself to smoothies, salads, juices, stews, bakes and even cocktails (kalejito, anyone?) However, the British haven’t gone quite as cuckoo for kale as the Americans, who have not only devoted a national day to this highly-esteemed leaf (4th October 2018), but launched the first ever world kale-eating contest in 2016. Gideon Oji holds the current record, consuming 25 bowls of the vegetable in just eight minutes. And the obsession doesn’t end there; according to America’s Social Security Administration, 262 babies were named Kale in 2013.

Even if you’re not a fan of the vegetable on your dinner plate, there are ornamental varieties of Kale available, with showy leaves in shades of pink and purple, which can add a welcome blush of colour to winter borders.

 

 

To browse all our varieties of kale seeds just follow this link to the kale seeds section of our website.

Royal Horticultural Society

This article was first published on the RHS website February 2018. 

Read more on the RHS website about growing your own kale.

Growing Fruit and Vegetables In The Shade! [video]

April 10th, 2017 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Growing Fruit and Vegetables

What can you grow in the shade? Surprisingly, quite a lot of things! This video will guide you through the fruit and vegetables you can grow in the shade.  If your plot is a bit gloomy, then embrace shade gardening!

Shady, and often shady and damp spots, offer a few challenges for the home gardener but it is possible to get growing if you choose the right plants that with thrive with lower levels of light and warmth.  In the video we have plenty of  tips on how to utilise the light that you do receive in your garden.

  • A first point to make on light is that it is often seedlings that require as much light as possible, in order to start their growth process strongly. Therefore it is important that you locate your seed beds in the sunniest part of the garden to give them the best possible start. You can plant seeds in pots or in a seed bed which can then be replanted once they have grown enough to cope with the darker areas of the garden.
  • You may be able to grow seeds indoors with full spectrum grow lights if you don’t have a sunny windowsill, especially if you are starting growing early.  This can offer seedlings a good start in life so they are well developed by the time you move them outside.
  • In shadier parts of the garden, paint walls white or use mirrors to reflect the light that is available.
  • You can also use covers for individual plants that may struggle to keep warm during spring in the shady cold pockets. Watch the video for more tips on this.
  • Slugs are likely to appear more in shaded areas, so be sure to set beer traps, lay out copper, coffee grounds, sharp stones and any other techniques you can think of to keep them at bay!

These are just a few tips on growing fruit and vegetables in the shade and how to make the most of the garden you have.  The video below talks more about what can be planted in the shade and further tips on growing in shady conditions.  Feel free to comment with your own tips in the comments below.