Kale (and chard) are loving the cooler weather while the warm season crops are fading. I grew two kinds of kale this year. The first one is Scotch Curly Kale shown above which has done really well. No aphids or cabbage looper damage (from the cabbage moth). A super producer!
The other kale which is my favorite, is Lacinato kale. It is also known as Tuscan kale, Italian kale, dinosaur kale, black kale. It has struggled with attacks from cabbage moths which resulted in very ‘holey’ kale from the cabbage moth looper. I don’t know why they attacked the Lacinato but not the curly kale but I left them in as a trap crop to attract the cabbage looper to them. I could of sprayed Bt, an organic caterpillar insecticide but didn’t get to it. The crops were not close to each other.
Today I noticed that the new leaves on the Lacinto are perfect-no holes so I think the cabbage moth is gone. So I trimmed off all the holey leaves on the bottom and gave them to my chickens and will harvest the nice leaves soon. The chickens love it.
I will leave all the kales in the garden for now as they love the cooler weather and will cover them with row cover when the first freeze comes next week (WEATHER FREEZE FORECAST TUESDAY OCT 12!).
I have to confess I never have liked kale finding it too tough for me. But I do really like it in stews and soups where it softens up. To prepare it to use later, I trim off all the leaves from the stalks, rough chop it and steam the kale for 2 minutes. I super cool it quickly under water with ice to stop the cooking. I then drain and squeeze out all the liquid and put it in 2 cup increments in freezer ziplock baggies and freeze it. It’s the perfect amount to put into stews and soups in the winter.