A Small Garden with a Big Harvest – Shade Vegetables – part 1 – Kales

One more step on the Journey Toward Increased Self Sufficiency.

 We decided to make the kitchen garden a ‘manageable’ size.  The part of the garden that is the focus of this post is a small area.   For us manageable is defined as: easy for two people to maintain easily, close to the house, easily available water, adequately sized to grow a variety of foods for us with some to share, with little to nothing going to waste.

More about how the planning process in my post:  https://ourhomeinthewoods.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/thinking-about-a-kitchen-garden-what-to-consider-f/

Question:  What to plant in this small ( 30″ x 48″), shady area along the north side of the chicken coop wall, the darkest area of the kitchen garden.

Answer:  Kale, or other brassicas.  I  planted 4 types of kale.

Most people can find an area this size in their yard, whether in the ground or a raised bed.  I think it would also do well in pots.  So far it is the fastest growing vegetable in the garden. 

It seemed like a small area when I planted it.   Kale has never been a regular part of our diet,  (until now of course).  We are ‘growing our own’ to increase our self reliance as well as to eat more healthy organic food, while avoiding GMOs (genetically modified foods).  Now that the plants are ready for harvest, it is plenty, more than 2 people can eat as just greens for salad, so I’ll be exploring ways of preserving it. 

Kale belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.    It is a leafy green, available in many varieties.

I am growing the curly, two ornamental and one ‘dinosaur’ variety.    I’ll soon by planting more.

Kale is said to be one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.    It is nicknamed the “queen of greens,” .   Kale is being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor.

Why grow and eat kale:  Kale may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.

One cup of kale

  • contains 36 calories
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine),
  • 40% of magnesium,
  • 180% of vitamin A
  • 200% of vitamin C
  • 1,020% of vitamin K.
  • is also a rich source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
  • has antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K
  • has sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
  • contains carotenoids and flavonoids
  • has lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

These are some of the reasons I am going to learn to cook, preserve and love kale.   Hopefully this will inspire you to try growing and eating kale yourself.  If you are already a kale eater, maybe you will share how you use it in your diet with me.


Thanks to Culinary Conscience blog for these great kale ideas.

Check it out.  http://culinaryconscience.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/i-love-kale/comment-page-1/#comment-189