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Kale, Red Russian
HEIRLOOM. Delicious grey-green leaves turn purple in cold weather.
This delicious grey-green kale is pretty enough to plant among the flowers. Much larger than regular kale (2 to 3' tall), the stems are purplish and the leaves are shaped like big oak leaves and colored a velvety gray green. The purple colors become richer after frost, when the flavor becomes sweeter. Surprisingly, the big leaves are very tender and delicious. Garden Hints: Kale requires good cultivation; mulch or hoe frequently to keep soil loose and weed-free. Plants may be left outdoors all winter. Frost improves flavor.
Sow in full sun in early spring; midsummer for fall crop. In Deep South, Gulf and Pacific Coast areas, sow from fall to early spring. Plant seeds evenly and thinly and cover with 1/4" of fine soil. Firm lightly. Plants emerge in 10-21 days.
How to Grow
Before transfer to the garden, accustom to outdoor conditions by moving to a sheltered area outside for a week. Set kale plants 1-1 1/2’ apart in a sunny location. Kale prefers rich, well-drained soil, and can tolerate light shade. Avoid area where any of cabbage family grew the year before.
Harvest kale after first frost if you prefer a sweeter flavor. Pick the outer leaves as needed once they reach 6-8" long- about 55-60 days after transplanting. Leave the central bud since it will grow new leaves. Use kale as a substitute for lettuce, cooked cabbage and collards.