Kale – Dwarf Green Curled

If there is one plant on the allotment that almost impossible to get wrong it is Kale. These hardy stalwarts of the winter allotment provide food from summer all the way through to the hungry gap the following spring.

Often kale can be quite a large plant getting upwards of a metre. If you are on a windy site or can only provide netting to a certain hight then dwarf green curled could be an option, growing to a slightly more lower 40-60cm.

Flavour wise it is not as tender or intesne as Cavolo Nero but it does suffer much less from white fly which makes it easier to grow and is still a very good addition to the dinner table.

Dwarf Green Curled Kale ©lucysaunders2021

In the kitchen

Choose the youngest leaves or remove the large central stem for the most tender meal.

Very young leaves could be used in salads. Older ones should be broken off at the stalk starting at the lowest leaves and working your way up. You can then lightly steam or stirfry. Try it in Kale Bhajias, crispy fried seaweed or Singapore noodles With crispy tofu

Yield and plant health

Not as big as some kales, dwarf green curled makes up for it in its bushiness. I would plant four per person to get a serving a week over winter. Having a slightly waxy surface they are left fairly well alone by slugs, snails and whitefly, however like most brassicas they will suffer from cabbage white caterpillars and pigeon damage so should be protected with butterfly netting.

Suppliers

Suttons

Thompson & Morgan

Dwarf Green Curled Kale ©lucysaunders2021

Growing

You can start kale in pots in a green house or outdoors. Sow in Spring from March all the way up to early summer, 1cm deep. In pots sow 1-3 seeds in a 3 inch pot. Outdoors sow thinly in rows 15cm apart. Thin seedlings to one every 7cm or 1 per 3 inch pot. Water lightly until it is time to plant out.

Brassicas can fall victim to cabbage white butterfly or birds. Kale seems a bit less preferred but if you are netting other brassicas then it might be better to shelter your kale too.

In April/May once the plants have several true leaves plant out in final positions. Kale are not too fussy about where they go but they do need a firm soil so you might struggle with a very sandy soil. They will appreciate a feed of blood fish and bone or another organic fertiliser in the spring and a mulch to conserve water.

Pot grown plants will need a period of a week being moved outdoors during the day and brought inside at night to harden off. Plant 40 – 50 cm apart, firming in well to stop the plants rocking in high winds water in well and make sure that they are well watered until established. After this water only if it has been dry for several weeks.

Dwarf Green Curled Kale ©lucysaunders2021

Alternatives

Afro

Red Russian

Peacocks Tails

Cavolo Nero

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