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  • Writer's pictureInes Batterton

Kale - like in 'too much kale'

My first year experience with the abundance of kale plants and how we got a hold of the overwhelming harvest

One day in July I went outside into the garden, as I do every morning. I wanted to harvest a little and just see how everything was doing. The weather was nice, almost cool, and my husband took care of the kids. Two hours later the table on our patio was filled with (mostly) kale. I mean, I knew that we would have a little too much kale, later in the year. But that much already in the middle of July?! And its not like I didn't harvest it yet. To understand the seriousness of the situation I'll describe how we ended up with too many plants all over our garden.

Of course it was my mistake to begin with. Never sow when you are under time pressure and, more importantly, NEVER with a baby brain. In the first bed, I managed to sow the seeds at least just 3 cm apart. When the seedlings came up, it was relatively easy to thin them out and replant the plants that were too many. I still had some space here and there, so I didn't need to throw out any plants (or eat them in a salad as baby leaves).

But the second sowing got out of hand. I remember that the baby was crying, so my brain got blank and all I needed to do was to finish whatever I did as quickly as possible. Not good. When the seedlings came up there was literally not even 1 cm of space in between them. I could hardly make out any rows.

By the time the seedlings were big enough to transplant, I took as many out as I could to give each plant enough space and ended up with a wheelbarrow full of baby kale plants. I don't know how you feel about it, but I have troubles throwing tiny cute little baby plants on the compost (or to eat them so soon). They are like my own children, so I always need to find a place for them to grow - I've had a similar problem with my tomatoes, but my family and friends adopted some :-). It makes me wonder, why nobody was exited about my offer when it came to the kale plants? People don't know what they miss out on. Well, the end of this story was, that I planted kale literally all around our house in any free spot I could find. At least now I know, that kale in the cold frame beds and in the open front-of-the-house bed grows like madness, whereas they don't do so good in the decorative bed in front of the house and in the hoops. It might have to do with the quality of the soil and the companion plants. In this first year of My Nordic Garden everything was a big experiment.

At least we can harvest kale every day for smoothies or just to add some into the daily meals. We can surely call ourselves lucky, I mean, there are not so many people who can feed themselves from their own garden. A little overproduce doesn't hurt at all, right?

Oh yes, I wanted to let you know, what I ended up doing with all this kale. The biggest part of the harvest from this morning ended up in the freezer for the winter to come. This time I precooked the kale after I chopped it up. The week before I just froze it fresh as it was. Both ways are supposed to be okay, as I was told. We will find it out! Some of the kale from this particular morning in July got turned into kale chips by my mother-in-law. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to try some, yet, but it's on my try-it-out cooking list now. My husband and I will have a delicious kale-chickpea-coconut milk-curry tonight. I found this recipe last winter and ever since, we have it on a regular basis. Actually, this recipe is the reason why I planted kale in the first place. There we go, plenty of curry for the winter ahead. Another beautiful recipe I love to make is kale fried up with mushrooms, onions and beet root. In combination with oven-potatoes or mashed potatoes and maybe some steak or fish, this simple vegetable so full of flavor is a wonderful side dish. Oh dear, I know that I'm drifting off into cooking now.. Maybe one day I'm going to share all my favorite home made recipes on this homepage, because it seems there is just not enough space in one post.

Happy Gardening!

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