Monday, June 20, 2011

Home-grown kale

Earlier this year, I was talking to my friend Bun (pronounced "Boone") about container gardening. He suggested that I check out Earth Box planters. So I picked up a couple from a local garden center to put on the deck for kale, chard, and beets. Earth Box planters have a reservoir for water underneath a tray that holds the soil, keeping the soil more moist than a traditional planter box.

An annoying label that wouldn't peel off.
That was back in March, and the weather hadn't quite warmed up yet. Perhaps the cold temperature was the reason that, after leaving the new containers outside overnight, I had such an awful time removing the labels from the plastic on the soil tray. Ultimately I had to leave most of the label on there and just poke holes through it to allow for drainage.

Aside from a little bit of extra time and frustration, the label issue didn't hurt anything. Once you cover it with dirt, you can't even tell it's there.

Until the new seeds sprout,
these two kale plants will be lonely.
After planting our seeds, we used the provided plastic cover over the top to help the soil retain heat and moisture. Either we did it wrong, or the cover is a bad idea. Or maybe it was another effect of the cool weather. Whatever the case, we ended up losing almost all of the seedlings that sprouted. Only two Dinosaur Kale plants remained.

So in May, I reseeded the planters. By this time, it wasn't getting as cold at night. And I left off the plastic covers. It didn't take long before I began to see sprouts again. And this time, they took off, big time.

The beets and chard are still not ready for harvesting, but we've gotten some kale from the two older plants already. It tastes great on salads (especially along with the lettuce we have growing in the garden), and I'm looking forward to doing some roasting and saut√©ing when we get a bigger harvest.

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