Saturday, April 01, 2017

Overwintering Kale

Kale.....yummmm....kale. We bought this variety last summer called: Russian Red.

The great aspect of harvesting kale as it grows, it gets taller and taller, which helps deter it from too much slug damage and makes it easy to pick leaves.

Last year we grew it in pots; we grew it in perennial beds and we grew it in our herb garden.

Our herb garden is slightly shaded on one side and protected from serious winds. Sparing it from the compost, I left it with overwintering hopes. Lo' and behold, it did survive. Thankfully our winter was milder than expected.

I had spring hopes for this particular plant. We heaped leaves and debris over the base of the roots to help insulate it. Even though we enjoyed as many leaves from it as possible, I made sure to spare the top bunch of leaves to keep the plant alive. The flavour of kale is enhanced due to the cold weather, so the others we grew in our other locations were completely harvested. They were so tasty.

Now as you look closely, the buds along the main stem are starting to open.  This was my hope for the spring. Yay!

We will harvest small plant-lets as they unfurl and put them in salads or stir fries. Will let you know if they are bitter or whatever taste emerges. As it keeps growing, we hope it bolts and provides us with seeds for this coming summer to keep the cycle of plants going.


So happy to see other plants peaking through as well:

Raddichio is a hit and miss, so we are happy to see some return for our salads this spring.

Parsley too.

Makes us happy to have a few plants we can harvest from this spring. Helps take the edge off waiting to see our tiny seedlings give us hope for summer harvests.

Hope you've had some luck overwintering tender plants in southern Ontario too.  So glad spring is here!


Update on Kale:

It's now, May 7th and the Kale has grown over a foot taller with more "florets" and leaves for us to enjoy. I will use as much as we can before it bolts and sets seed. I thoroughly am enjoying this extended season of harvest. We've eaten the florets from the stem in salads and stir fries. So yum!


  1. Our kale overwintered this year which was quite amazing given the snow and cold we had here on PEI.It bolted soon after and we enjoyed the little flower heads in stir fry and steamed on mushroom toasts.Now it is many feet tall and flowering the most gorgeous yellow blooms.Thanks for the delightful post on kale. Happy gardening! Jill

  2. Good for you! Keep those seeds. They will be sturdier specimens and will readily germinate this summer. I have not bought Kale seeds in years. They self seed and I enjoy their bounty. Well done!


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