Growin’ Green

Kale Perfect For Cold Weather Planting


Mark your calendars for the quarterly Cattlemen’s Meeting that will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Yalobusha County Multi-Purpose Building.  
Lance Newman will be the presenter for the program. More information will be published at a later date.
 
Horticulture Tips
You are probably already familiar with the ornamental kale that is a poplar plant for fall planting in the garden and in containers. You may even pluck a few of the crisp, crinkly leaves to garnish your food platters, or add to your fall floral arrangements. But did you know there are many cultivars of this ultra-cold-hardy, leafy green vegetable that are great additions to fall and winter menus. Some types have tender leaves perfect for salads. Others are perfect steamed and served simply with butter or perhaps vinegar, with salt and pepper.
The Scotch Curled types (‘Vates Blue,’ ‘Winterbor,’ ‘Redbor,’ and ‘Lacinato’) are very popular. Some cooks prefer the broader, smoother leaves of the Russian or Napus types (‘White Russian,’ ‘Red Ursa,’ ‘Winter Red’). Some of these are readily available from local seed suppliers, some you may have to purchase through mail-order seed companies.
Kale is an elite member of a highly nutritious family of foods known as the “dark-green leafy vegetables”.  
Kale is a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the liver. Dark leafy greens also are exceptionally high in other carotenoids, including zeaxanthin and lutein, which are powerful antioxidants that protect against degenerative illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration.
Kale also has been touted as one of the best vegetable sources of calcium. Research on calcium’s role in human nutrition sheds even more light on how important kale, collards and broccoli can be—in order for the body to assimilate dietary calcium, magnesium also must be present in a meal. Dairy products are rich in calcium but have relatively little magnesium. Guess what? Kale and its relatives have substantial amounts of both nutrients.
Now, do you need any more reasons to sow a few kale seed this fall? These plants can be easily grown in big containers, if you don’t have a little plot of land to sow a full blown “sallet patch.” Incorporate some slow-release fertilizer in your container or bed before sowing seed.
Your crop of kale should mature for harvest in 50 to 80 days. You can begin to harvest individual leaves just as soon as they are big enough to eat—just don’t pick them all at once! Remember the flavor improves after the cold night temperatures, so be patient.
If you grow a selection of the Scotch Curled type you may want to try this recipe for “Krispy Kale,” a snack created by Kim Blanchard of Rock Spring Farm in Highlandville, Iowa. Take a bunch of fresh kale leaves, chip into 2 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil (I prefer canola oil) and kosher salt, place on a jellyroll pan. Crisp in a 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Yum
 
Camouflage Patterned Spots
Every Fall just about the time we change our clocks from daylight saving time weird camouflage patterns often appear across the canopy of many lawns, especially thick dense bermudagrass lawns. If you have already seen or will see this happening to your lawn in the next few weeks don’t become alarmed that some horrible disease, terrible insects, or perhaps even the military have invaded your lawn. There is nothing to worry about and the changes of your clocks only helps remind us that much cooler weather will soon be here.
This phenomenon is simply the results of the first light frost or two of fall.  Heat is absorbed into the soil during the day and radiates off at night through the dense canopy of leaf blades, stolons, etc. in these somewhat zigzag patterns. The small difference in temperatures is enough for frost to develop and kill leaf tissue in spots where the temperature has dropped low enough but not in others. Generally the denser and thicker the turf canopies the more likely for this phenomenon to occur. Once there is a hard freeze with a widespread heavy killing frost the camouflage patterns will disappear into a typical brown winter colored turf and your lawn will return to a healthy green next spring. 
 
Gardeners who are considering making their livelihood or just wish to get into the business of selling vegetables should attend the Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference and Trade Show November 28 and 29. Wednesday night’s schedule includes a section for new growers  that will include production and marketing ideas for people who have never gown for profit. Other presentations will cover organic certification and  production, growing in raised beds, hydroponics, agritourism, and a special section on growing for and selling to “the big boys” with representatives from large farms and buyers from chain stores  and local outlets.
 
We normally are not talking about tomatoes in November, but this fall has been so mild that many gardeners are still harvesting. There are not many things for tomato fruit worms to eat in the landscape now, so almost every moth still flittering around will be laying eggs on your plant. Keep a close watch for eggs and small caterpillars and use appropriate control measures since the insects are also taking advantage of our Indian summer. Bt insecticides are very effective against these caterpillars.
 
Fallen leaves make an excellent mulch for recently planted strawberry plants and other plants in the garden that have grown at least three inches tall. Just be sure the leaves don’t cover the desired plants for more than a day.

Lelia Kelly, Wayne Wells, David Nagel

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