We can definitely do with a boost of nutritious Kale at this time of year and it’s great to add to comfort food as the days are shorter and much colder! It’s such a hardy leafy green to grow over the winter months and looks so pretty with a frosty sparkle in the mornings. I grow some on my balcony and on the allotment as it is so easy to grow and cook with. I particularly like it because it is so low in calories and full of vitamins, preparing me for the feast of naughtiness over Christmas!
I usually sow seeds in pots in the Rhino greenhouse but for my balcony I sow direct in the raised bed and pots. If you start them in pots, they just need hardening off then transplanting to their growing position when the plant has about 6 leaves. They grow quite big and to make sure there is enough airflow and space for the wonderful foliage to grow, 45cm between each plant is a good idea. They will need a mulch if the weather is hot and dry, and if growing in raised beds and pots, like here on my balcony they definitely need feeding because they take up plenty of nutrients from the soil. I love the curly kale with it’s crinkly leaves but Cavolo Nero is great with dark green foliage and Russian Kale is great for growing to full size or as microgreens as it is sweet, tender and is delicious just eaten raw.
I’ve been harvesting mine off the balcony just about every day, just a couple of leaves and popping them into dinner or making Kale chips (just cover them in oil, salt and pepper and put in the oven).
So, I can guarantee there will be kale on the menu for Christmas dinner this year! Hopefully you all have some homegrown sprouts, cabbage and Christmas potatoes as well. Can’t beat a festive homegrown feast that’s for sure.
I hope you all have an enjoyable Christmas and manage to find a little time to browse the seed catalogues, ready for growing next year.
To read more about Ellen Mary, you can find her on social media and on her website - https://www.ellenmarygardening.co.uk/