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This is the first year I tried to grow Kale. I wrote about planting this fine Kale in my post: The Great Fall Garden Transformation, but little did I know what joy this wonder plant would give me.
There is a Kale craze sweeping the nation and for good reason. This super food is packed with nutrition – some even call it a plant healer.
Consider all these amazing traits:
- 9 essential amino acids needed to form the proteins within the human body—-histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine (not unlike how the protein in meat works)
- 1 gram of fiber per serving
- 3-1 carb-to-protein ratio — complex carbohydrate at that
- 9 other non-essential amino acids—making a whopping 18 total
- Omega 3 – although it is considered a fat-free food
- Vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin (good for sunblock, eye sight), Vitamin C
- Calcium – which is actually absorbed 25% better than whole cow milk in kale form
- And to balance all that calcium, it also contains magnesium to keep it in check
- Anticancer compounds, such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbino are packed in too
Kale is a part of the cabbage family but it is a little on the wild side. Blog partner Chris, would love this description of Kale -the “hippie” member of the cabbage family.
Growing it is super easy..so all you brown thumb nay-sayers...even you can do it. All you need is soil – in a bed or pot – fertilizer, a kale transplant (when putting them in the ground I prefer transplant to seed, but if you wanted to grow seeds inside and then transplant that would work). Some sunlight and water – I only watered the first day I planted – nature did the rest. Voila – Rockin’ Kale.
By now you are on board and ready to dive into eating a “whole mess” of Kale – but how you wonder?
Here is an amazing “How To” video from one of my favorite organizations – America’s Test Kitchen.
Microwave Kale Chips
I made them for my Thanksgiving feast and what a hit. Light and airy, comparable to super bad potato chips. Yum!
Enjoy the recipe! Thanks so much for reading our blog. On this day, I am thankful for all of you and my new love -Kale.
Happy Gardening & Kale Experimenting
This fall has been outrageous in color. I thought I would share some of my favorite fall foliage and why the leaf color is so intense this year.
Why are the leaf colors so intense this year as compared to others?
Short answer: Weather.
Longer answer: Temperature, light and water…not rocket science since those, plus sunlight, are the most important parameters in all gardening. We had a wet summer, a moderate fall and a late frost. These factors allowed some intense yellow, orange and red. As I was researching this phenomenon, I noticed that some of the intense color is a bit of an optical illusion, which this season has certainly created for us. Leaf color looks brighter on overcast days…and since we have had our fair share that has also made the colors appear to be super bright.
Happy leaf peeping!
Well, I finally did it. I pulled out my tomatoes. It is bittersweet. Whenever you rip out those summer veggies, you are saying goodbye to that season.
Before: End of the season 2013 Tomatoes
After: A couple of hours of taking out tomato plants and cages
While this year wasn’t particularly fabulous because of the massive amount of rain <I swore I would never complain about rain, but this summer was tough….a colleague had a great description of the last couple of years of NC weather: “From Drought to Drench”>, I am grateful for the vegetables I did harvest.
The seasons are changing and that means you need to change your veggies too. I call it the Great Fall Veggie Transformation — it sounds so epic, but really so simple.
Here are the 5 Steps to Transform your Summer Vegetable Garden into a Fall One:
1)Remove your summer vegetables – take your tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant and others out. I usually put this out for the city to pick up, so I don’t contaminate my compost pile.
2)Shop and pick out your fall veggies. I love fall because it makes me think of greens, autumn squash, and other grand root vegetables. I choose lots of kale, cabbage, swiss chard and threw in a few lettuces for fun. I am going to try to do broccoli and butternut squash – though I haven’t had luck in the past. But it’s a new season.
3)Collect your good planting soil, Osmocote fertilizer and a trowel and you are ready to plant. BTW-I usually do my major fertilizing in the spring, but of course your little seedlings need to eat. The slow release Osmocote does the trick– look for the pink top.
4) Plant your little plugs according to the package. I usually do it at least 6 inches apart so they have room to grow. Throw in a sprinkle of Osmocote, the plant plug and cover with good soil.
5) Water. That’s the final step. Remember transferring plants can be extremely stressful, so almost over-watering is best to help relieve the stress. Just think after you do strenuous exercise how water can be so healing.
Now, just keep up with the rainfall, watering when needed and watch it grow.
That’s it! 5 steps to the Great Fall Veggie Transformation.
Go on…get out there and get dirty!
When I started this blog venture with co-writer Chris, the first thing I did was to put in a tropical garden off my back porch. It has been more than 4 years and to see it’s evolution is absolutely marvelous….wondrous actually.
This morning I walked out on the deck, and I see such a brilliant sight – these giant ginger blossoms peaking from the tropical jungle thicket. It’s actually a Ginger Lily, or Hedychium. Look at those salmon-colored beauties. Gorgeous!
You should definitely grow Ginger Lilies. I got mine from Big Bloomers in Sanford.
Two keys to success in growing Ginger Lilies are:
- Plant in super sun
- Plant in well drained soil
That is all I have done and they have come back now 3 years in a row, growing taller every year.
How about you? Any thing in your Jungle that stands out?
I think I know what it must feel like to be a millionaire. Not because I became one from some fat inheritance or selling my latest Start up…no, no….that is NOT the case.
It’s my tomatoes!
I got my second harvest and my first BIG one. I had to re-stake them and ask for a hand because so of them are now close to 8 feet tall. And all the little green, promising fruit makes my eyes twinkle.
I honestly felt so rich today. Abundance doesn’t have to be defined by cash or the value of your retirement portfolio. No, no…you can feel wealthy from the most humble of things…like tomatoes.
Now, I know what it feels like to be a millionaire. To have so much and be so thankful….and share.
Anyone want to come over for a tomato snack?
Just call me loaded