I had intended to write this week about succession planting, but when I heard the news on Friday that legendary guitarist and songwriter J.J. Cale passed away, I knew I had to focus on one vegetable in particular
One of the favorite parts of my job is being an ambassador to kale.
It always surprises me when I find a participant who is unfamiliar with this “super food,” but it seems to happen all the time. Then I get to describe it: “more nutritious than spinach, sweeter than collards, hardier than chard, the purple-veined diva of greens, the savoyed sweetheart of the coles” and so on. Even if I don’t sense my enthusiasm rubbing off, I help them find a suitable patch of ground and plant several of our starts. With a flat of kale starts in my passenger seat nearly everywhere I go these days, I am pretty sure I know what Johnny Appleseed felt like. Call Me the Breeze…I put kale in the ground and Roll On.
I am often asked how to prepare kale and I really need to work on a succinct answer. I steam it, chop it and put it in pancake batter; I bake it into crisps; I slip it into soups, sauté it for omelets, and of course, I snip it into salads. I could go on. I often do. Mama Don’t Allow many meals without kale ‘round here.
I have also taken to handing out a section of row cover with the baby kale plants—otherwise their tiny leaves are likely to look like Swiss cheese in a day. Flea beetles love this plant as much as I do, and when put on right after planting and sealed around the edges, the row cover keeps them safe from harm. I have also found that surrounding the little plants with a moat of cornmeal will keep the slugs from devouring them After Midnight.
For all they have given us, I want to thank kale, hero of the greens, and Cale, hero of the blues. May your roots run deep and your music live on.