Superfood of the Undead

In the light of the Berowra Potato Famine of 2014, I am grateful that the obituary I gave for the kale some months ago was premature.

People may say they grow kale because of its alleged status as a superfood, but I know the truth.  People grow it because it’s impossible to kill.  Attacked by aphids, gone to seed, garrotted daily by the garden hose, baked in the hottest spring on record and scarified on a regular basis by the vicious claws of visiting brush turkeys –  after all that, my kale plants have felt the need for a little lie down.

However, having risen from the grave once, they won’t just won’t lay down and die.  Those leaves keep right on coming, whatever I throw at them.  Not great big fancy leaves, good for stuffing with, say, quinoa and chick peas. More the slightly stunted, hard living leaves you might expect to be produced by the once-definitive vegetable of a country famous for its disdain for vegetables.  In dark and gloomy pre-industrial Scotland, kale was such a staple that the veggie patch was called a “kailyard”. and by extension, the evening meal, “kail”.   Any green that can crush the neep in the death-match for vegetable supremacy on the Scots dinner plate is not to be trifled with (boom boom).

In the light of this backstory, I’m starting to wonder about the untimely demise of my tatties.  The flea beetles are in the frame for the execution of my potatoes, but all the while, the kale lay nearby… unnoticed… waiting… Could it be that my zombie kale has vengefully fed on the life-spirit of the blighted potato, colonial pretender to the Scottish vegetable crown?

3 thoughts on “Superfood of the Undead

  1. Thanks for that Kale information.
    Very interesting.
    They do seem to be tough plants.
    I also like their long history and the way they can be harvested one leaf at a time.
    I will definitely be ordering some kale seeds.
    I harvested some carrots today and they were deformed by root knot nematodes.
    Apparently the cabbage family is one of the few types of veges that are resistant to it.
    So Kale may be ideal for that bed.

    • They do seem to be quite indestructible! Well done for getting carrots at all, deformed or otherwise. I made an effort to get some going in the last couple of weeks to absolutely no success at all!! Not keeping the seed bed wet enough, I think, despite watering pretty much morning and night when it hasn’t rained. My best ever success with carrots was letting a plant go to seed during a rainy period – the plants were up within a week…. I wonder if it would be possible to replicate that experience artificially?? Kale is a doddle by comparison!

  2. I guess I was just lucky with the carrot germination.
    Maybe you just had a bad batch of seed.
    I am never very confident with direct sowing – there seems like so many things to go wrong.
    I have started to think of sowing all seed in sterile seed raising mix in small pots,
    apparently this is possible even with plants like carrot.
    All the snake bean seeds I just sowed germinated in a seed raising pot, which I almost immediately transplanted to a larger pot with a very rich potting mix.
    I just thought this might give plants a head start, in a more protected environment, before they come under assault from what seems like a myriad of pest and diseases.

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