Name: Tuscan Kale – aka Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, and Brassica oleracea
Type of Plant: One of the longest producing vegetables for the garden.
Why I love this: Kale has been a hot vegetable lately, and with good reason since it’s so jam-packed with nutrients. It’s also delicious and for the home veggie gardener a long period of harvest. Kale lasts through light frosts so you can start it early in the season and harvest it through the fall.
A Word to the Wise: Cut the oldest leaves off of kale plants from the time it’s a few inches tall on. You can sow many more plants than you need, and thin the young ones leaving several remaining in the garden to grow about 18” apart. From that point on, harvest the older leaves and let the tops grow. The plants will continue to get taller and you can keep cutting and cutting until very hard frost. Those who want to make a tall tunnel of floating row cover over their plants can harvest kale into the winter.
There are a couple of larvae that attack kale and other Brassica crops – use Bt or a product containing spinosad to kill the little worms. Even now, in October, I see critters munching these plants, so spraying is on my to-do list for this weekend.