Saturday, December 13, 2014

All About KALE

I'm growing more KALE in the garden this year.  At the moment, they are tiny seedlings but they are growing! KALE is a Rockstar!

KALE is considered a Superfood.   From WHF,
"Kale's risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.

Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.

Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale's flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress."

Why is KALE a Rockstar?
"Kale's cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress."

We have quite a few varieties of Heirloom Kale seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

55-60 days. Compact plants yield tender, blue-green, crinkled leaves that are quite delicious, very cold hardy, and rich in vitamin A

55-60 days. First mentioned in garden text around 1863.
Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch is an early kale that produces tasty greens when used in salads or steamed.
The blue-green leaves are finely curled and very attractive reaching 12-15" in high, and spread to 20-35" in width.
 50 days. Plants grow 14" tall and are super hardy to the cold.  Dwarf Siberian Kale is not only pleasing in appearance, but tasty as well.
Young leaves are great raw in salads, blanched for a meal, in stir fry or for use as a colorful garnish.

60 days. Also called Nero Di Toscana Cabbage and Dino Kale.  This loose-leafed cabbage dates back to the early 1800’s at least. It has beautiful, deep black-green leaves that can be 24” long.
They are heavily savoyed. This Italian heirloom is popular in Tuscany and central Italy for making fabulous soups and stews. 

 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.

55-60 days. A tender and mild, a pre-1885 heirloom variety. Oak type leaves have a red tinge, and stems are a purplish-red.  Great flavor.   A hardy plant that fares well in cold weather, often thriving through the winter.

50-80 days to harvest.   A sturdy, upright, kale with a compact habit (plants grow 12-36 inches high and 18-24 inches wide).  
This hardy Scotch type kale is slow to bolt and readily overwinters.  The finely curled, blue-green, leaves can be harvested all winter down to zone 6.


For growing information, read my article Growing Salad Greens from Seed

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