Kalettes

If any vegetable could be compared to an Instagram influencer it would probably be the Kalette. A happy crossing beween Kale and sprout they were originally called Flowersprouts but it was though that the word sprout was putting people off so it was renamed Kalettes and relaunched with lots of branding, they even have their own website. The rename was not to everones cup of tea and Rick Stein was heard to mutter that it made them sound like an 80’s pop band.

However what ever you want to call them Kalettes are a fun interpretation of a sprout, slightly sweeter than either kale or normal sprouts, tender and much prettier on the dinner table.

Kalettes ©lucysaunders2021

In the Kitchen

Steam or boil for 2-3 minutes. You can also stir fry. You can use them in any recipe that calls for sprouts or kale.

Kalettes ©lucysaunders2021

Yield and plant health

Kalettes are whopping big plants. I have one growing over waist height and the whole stalk is covered in the sprouts. One plant would make I would estimate 8 servings.

The one issue that Kalettes do suffer from more than usual sprouts is whitefly which, combined with an indifferent summer can lead to sooty moulds. If you start to see white fly the best organic remedy is a regular blast with the hose and encouraging predatory insects by growing plants for pollinators close by.

Kalettes ©lucysaunders2021

Suppliers

DT Brown

Thompson Morgan

Kalettes ©lucysaunders2021

Growing

Sow March to April. You can start sprouts in pots in a green house or outdoors. Sow 0.5 cm 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.

Once the plants have several true leaves plant out in final positions. Sprouts are not too fussy about sunlight but they do need a firm soil so you might struggle with a very sandy soil. In May to early June you will want to plant the sprouts in to their final positions. Harden off indoors plants for a week by leaving them outside during the day and bringing back in at night. Plant out leaving 60-80 cm in either direction. It can be helpful to stake sprout especially if you are on a windy site. They will appreciate a feed of blood fish and bone or another organic fertiliser in the spring and a mulch to conserve water. Commonly growers would sprinkle a little lime on the soil before planting as this helps to avoid club root but also sprouts like a slightly alkaline soil. If you want to do this though do it sparingly and follow manufacturing guidelines. Calcified seaweed and ground chalk are preferable to organic growers. Always wear a face mask and gloves when sprinkling lime and follow manufacturing instructions. 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.

Brassicas can fall victim to cabbage white butterfly or birds. Grow under butterfly netting to avoid this, making sure the netting does not touch the cabbage.

There are three major issues that can affect sprouts, cub root and cabbage root fly.

Blowing is when the sprout button begins to prematurely open so do not form tight little heads. This is mainly caused by soil that is too loose or lacking in nutrition. Firm sprouts in well and ensure your soil is in good heart by mulching every year.

Cub root is a fungal infection that affects grown. Roots will look swollen and distorted and cabbages will fail to thrive. Once on your plot you should not grow brassicas there for up to 20 years. If that is not possible then there are resistant varieties. Raising the PH of the soil with lime also helps.

Cabbage root fly burrow in to the roots of the sprout and the it slowly wilts and dies. If you pull up the plant then you will see maggots on the roots. You can buy little collars that go around the base of the cabbage which stops the fly laying her eggs on the roots.

Kalettes ©lucysaunders2021

Alternatives

Kale

Afro

Red Russian

Peacocks Tails

Cavolo Nero

Sprouts

Atttwood

Kalettes ©lucysaunders2021

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