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Kale or Borecole


Kale (Borecole) comes in various kinds - Curly Kale, Plain leaved Kale, Cottagers Kale, and Fodder kale. It is one of those vegetables which can be described as a standby. It is extremely hardy, and crops at a time when other veg may be scarce. Difficult to believe it can be anybody's favourite. The young shoots of Curly kale can be quite nice, but the Fodder Kale is used for Animal feed, which is probably the best use for it. Cottagers Kale was grown by poor Cottagers in days when food was too expensive to buy, and this Kale if nothing more, avoided starvation. It is still available. Plain Leaf kale isn't particularly delicious either.


Being a Brassica the cultivation and soil requirements are much the same as the others. A highish pH of 6.7 to 7.0 is best. Manured the previous season and limed in the Autumn if lime is required.


There is no point in sowing early in cold frames, as this will bring the crop in when there is plenty of better veg about. Sow in open ground in seedbeds during April and May and plant out 45cm x 45cm in June and July.


The planting can follow a crop that has been cleared, such as early potatoes.

Apply a high Nitrogen 4:1:2 general fertilizer. Water well in, after which average rainfall should be sufficient. Top dress with Nitro Chalk or Dried Blood or Urea. Do not top dress after August as the Kale will need to harden up ready for winter.


Caterpillars can be a nuisense as can cabbage root fly. use a Contact Insecticide and a Soil pesticide to control them. Organic products are available, although tend to be less effective.


In Spring after the crop has finished, dig up the plants and smash them up with a hammer before composting. By this time the plants will be very woody and smashing them up in this way means they can be put on the compost heap.







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