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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
But there are so many annuals I NEVER want to garden without.
At the top of that list:
Manaos Beauty aka Brazilian Button Flower aka Centratherum Intermedium. A perennial in it’s native country, here in Wake County NC it’s tender and needs to replanted in the spring.
Even the leaves are pretty–
And the button-like buds and flowers rock the front of the border from mid-summer to frost.
I first saw this plant at he famous Montrose Garden in Hillsborough. Fortunately I was able to find seed at my favorite source for hard to find and old fashioned annuals, The Fragrant Path. http://www.fragrantpathseeds.com/product.asp?ID=135.
Annuals like Manaos Beauty are the reason I usually have lots of flowers in the garden. What about you? What are your workhorse plants?
I’m sure my tall, proud grandmother (who once said that people would judge me by my clothesline) would call Robert’s garden an eyesore. She’d probably make him go cut a switch and stand over him until he cleaned it up.
But I think my friend’s garden has much hidden beauty.
First–his garden is thrifty
Robert comes from the “use what you have” school of life. Old political and home for sale signs suppress weeds which can grow head high in his Clayton garden. Ditto the trashed carpet which has kept his paths clear for several years.
He starts his vegetables from saved seeds, cuttings, plant-gifts and suckers. He ties them up with strips of torn fabric that he saves until they rot.
Robert doesn’t like to waste anything if he can find a use for it in the garden. Grandmother would very much approve.
Secondly-his garden is very productive:
From home-grown asparagus in the spring to the last tomatoes and squash of fall–Robert grows and picks. His lovely wife cooks. Together they enjoy eating wonderfully fresh produce from this small, trashy plot for about half the year.
That’s a big accompolishment!
So while his garden will never make the pages of Southern Living Magazine, he could very well end up in Gourmet.
PS. If you have close neighbors, please don’t try this style of gardening at home. (Robert has lots of land and no one sees his garden but the gardener)
But please do think about using more–wasting less. And never forget that growing something you can eat is a great joy. No grandma switches there–
So I returned from my travels to one of my favorite seasons here in NC…glorious spring. And what did I see when I arrived….my bulbs all in bloom. If you remember back in the fall, I wrote about my laborious exercise in researching how to shop for bulbs and then the follow up laborious activity of actually planting those more than 200 bulbs…and combine that with my post on how the garden has taught me patience…what do you get? My absolute amazement with this showy display of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in my yard. It is truly a bulb blooming bonanza. It took my breathe away. It reassured me that often times patience does has its rewards and, in this case at least, has outperformed my wildest expectations.
Here are a few things to do now:
1- ENJOY….walk outside more, cut them and put them in your house, look back at photos when that part of your garden was bare…or in my case overgrown with my nemesis plant–English Ivy.
2-Take pictures. You will want to know what your yard looks with each burst of blooms, so you can plan for next fall. Also document when each variety blooms, so you can better decide in the fall what you need to plant more of to extend the season.
3-Share. Cut them and share them with your friends, family and neighbors. You never know, you may inspire someone to add more bulbs to their garden.
4. Brag. You deserve it. You took the time in the fall to plan and plant those little nuggets of wonder to wait almost 6 months for the pay off.
5. Leverage your joy and pride to plant more and sustain your gardening throughout the spring season. It is my favorite, but it is the season that gardners literally work the most. Pruning, preparing, mulching, mowing, planting(inside and out), weeding….You need the energy to sustain you for the season.
Oh….blog partner, Chris, was right…they are so much better in bunches. Last year I had a few here and a few there. I had them in these rows as if they were these little British soldiers lined up for battle. This time…I planted them in bunches….asymmetric, almost wild. Boy, do they shine in that formation. You should plant more bulbs…and always in bunches.
What about you? Are your bulbs in a full blooming Bonanza? Tell us about them.
Who says our lawns have to flow together? All around my suburban neighborhood I see people giving their best garden space to grass.
I say dig it up! Buffer, screen, create mixed borders that change with the season. They’re good for the soul, insects and wildlife. They create a sense of enclosure that makes us all feel a little safer. Most of all they give us space to try new plants and plan for four seasons of interest.
Below are the 22 different kinds of plants blooming today–February 27th, 2011– in the mixed beds around our house in Apex, NC.
1) Daffodils–3 varieties
4) Forsythia (yellow and white)
6) Lenten Rose
8) Texas Scarlet Quince
10) Sweet breath of Spring (Lonceria fragmantisma)
11) Winter Daphne
12) Winter Iris
14) Camellia Japonica–several varieties
15) Prunus mume (two varieties)
16) Prunus Altumnalis
18) Native redbud tree
19) Bearsfoot Helleborus
20) Robbs Spurge
22) Edgeworthia Snow Cream
Many of these plants are fragrant. Some make great cut flowers. All are most welcome after cold winter days. And grass…well it’s green. Ok, that’s nice, but how much of it do you really need?
One more thing to consider while we’re all thinking about turf–Does it really need to be perfect? I think not. Of course, I love running barefoot through blades of green. But perfect grass takes a lot of time, money, fertilizer, water, and weed killer.
Again–I think not.
I’ve decided my ideal lawn would be a small oval with lots of clover. I’d let it bloom between mowings to attract lots of honey bees for the flowers and vegetables. Now if I can just convince my husband….