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kim1

When we bought this home early in the summer, the first thing I did was plant some organic red kale seeds. I chose kale because I am a bit of a major health nut, and I eat super-food-kale all the time. Feeling quite ambitious, I figured I’d start my organic veggie garden with my main leafy greens.

Sowing the Seeds

I picked a spot in my raised beds that gets plenty of sun. I fluffed up the soil with my trusty pitchfork. — This city-girl from Metropolitan PHX never thought she’d be using a pitchfork! — Then I dragged my trowel through the dirt in 2 rows; sprinkled some Epsom salt in, and spilled a handful of seeds into the grooves. Once the seeds were lightly covered, I watered and waited.

To my delight, it wasn’t long before I saw curly green sprouts.

Buddy Plants

You may refer to them as “companion plants”. Once the small kale was popping up all over the place, I thought they could use some “buddies”… You know, for a little insurance. I read that mint, basil and dill would be good choices; not only to enhance flavor, but to fend off insect menaces. And the dill attracts those sweet, insatiable ladybugs.

So, I snatched up some organic mint, basil and dill plants from my local farmers market. I tucked them in the soil right behind my 2 rows of kale. Then I waited some more….

Harvest

Before long, my kale babies had grown to about 18 inches tall. The leaves were full and wide, and beginning to look like a tangled mess. Around mid-July I picked my first basket-full of fresh kale leaves for my dinner that evening. A week later, the plants seemed to be just as full as before I picked any; perhaps, even bushier. Overflowing.

All summer long, and into the Autumn months, my kale magically regenerated like this. The more I picked, the more it would grow. It made me one happy gardener! I found myself begging friends and family to take some, because I just couldn’t eat it all. And heck, as long as it kept growing right back, I’d continue to harvest it.

The companion plants proved to be great friends, too. The mint, basil and dill lasted until the first hard frost of the season. And I never saw any evidence of aphids — or any other pesky critters, for that matter — near my organic greens and herbs patch in the garden. I did see a plentitude of ladybugs, though!

By mid-November, the kale growth was slowing. After a chilly weekend, with temps low into the teens; the broad kale leaves were laden with snow. They drooped over the edge of the raised garden bed. I kicked myself for not pinching off every leaf before the chill. But a few days later, the snow melted and the temps climbed into the ’40s again. The kale bounced right back… I couldn’t believe it!

I’m so glad I planted kale for my very first grow-from-seeds project. It’s proven to be power-house in garden, and given me the confidence to keep on gardening.

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