When you are deciding where to plant your kale this year, pick a spot that would allow you to cover your plants in the late fall. This year, despite one of the coldest winters in quite some time, the kale I left in my garden bed, covered only by a floating row cover, has made an incredible comeback and is providing me with the first garden veggies — even before my asparagus and rhubarb!
I decided to leave the stalks in the garden this year after they were providing me with an abundant harvest even late into the fall. I had covered them to keep the leaves growing and giving them a slightly warmer temperature. But in December they finally stopped growing and I wasn’t in the mood to clean out the bed in the biting wind so the plants just stayed covered and apparently rode out the winter with wind chills below zero and lots of snow.
Imagine my suprise today when I went out to start cleaning up the gardens and some of the row cover had blown off revealing a kale plant that had overwintered with many new leaves. And when I removed the cover, I found that many others were also producing new leaves on what appeared to be dead stumps of the old plants!
These plants will keep me in kale now until my new young plants can begin to get bigger. The young new kale leaves on these old stumps are more tender and sweet than those large stalks that were growing at the end of the year. I have overwintered other veggies in the past like spinach, carrots and parsnips, but have always provided lots of mulch cover for them. What a great spring suprise this was and now will be something I will plan on doing every year!
Not a kale lover yet? Make it tasty! You don’t need to eat a kale salad if it is not something you enjoy. But you can make this powerhouse of vitamins an easy addition to your diet with some simple recipes. Making spaghetti? Just throw in fresh kale leaves into the pot of boiling post for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain with the pasta and cover with your favorite sauce.The leaves will blend right in with the pasta and add very little flavor to your favorite dish. Or, try sauteing a tablespoon of butter and a few cloves of garlic with kale for a quick side dish. Kale is King in the spring garden!