Kale is a peculiar green vegetable in many ways. Young kale seedlings are one of the earliest transplants which can be set out in spring, and also one of the earliest which can be started by direct seeding. Both actions can be taken weeks before the final frost date, assuming that the gardener can penetrate the ground with a spade.
Here in northern New Jersey in growing Zone 6 it is also a vegetable which can, with luck, still be harvested into early January and even allowed to spring up again in March. Allowed to do so, seeds can be harvested and if the canny and frugal gardener continues that process he or she will never buy kale seeds again.
The trick to harvesting kale all season long and still having plants to survive overwintering is to pick for the pot from the bottom up, and to leave one or two plants unscathed. The plant in the foreground has been picked so many times in that fashion that it looks like a slender palm tree, nearly four feet tall and still good for one more plucking at least before making that final journey to the compost. Of the ones in the background, one is slated for the table and two will be overwintered to provide seed for the gardener, and his friends and neighbors as well.
The delicious, prolific and may we mention, extremely healthful kale plant is the garden gift which properly managed literally keeps on giving all year long.
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