his week’s feature Fall crop is Red Russian Kale. Also known as Ragged Kale, we began growing Red Russian Kale because of the beautiful purple stems. You know I LOVE PURPLE! Over the years we have learned quite a bit about Red Russian Kale. If you are thinking about planting it here’s a few things we’ve learned:
▪︎It is extremely cold tolerant for our area. Living in Zone 8 we rarely experience below freezing temps but on a few occasions where we did get into the teens for a few hours the Red Russian Kale was unaffected.
▪︎It is easy to clean in comparison to its curly cousins.
▪︎It is the nuttiest kale (in flavor not personality) we have grown. We appreciate the flavor.
▪︎It does not like the heat and will usually bolt before Summer in our area. We have extended its season by using shade cloth however the flavor is notably less sweet.
▪︎It stores well in the freezer. Blanch for long term storage.
▪︎Stems are tender and thus edible from Fall or early Spring crop however this quickly changes as the weather warms.
▪︎Purple stems become more vibrant during winter months. Purple color will also extended to leaves. Once cooked color will change to a deep green.
▪︎Because of its beauty it can easily be worked into edible landscaping for our fellow front yard gardeners.
▪︎It is excellent in salads. Just harvest as a baby green (about 30 days). It is thicker even at the baby stage than some kale so be aware of that.
▪︎It’s quicker than most kale varieties to reach maturity at around 50 days as opposed to 55 – 65 days of “most” others.
▪︎It is an aphid magnet! In our opinion this really is the only downside!
So do you plan to grow Red Russian Kale or are you among the many already growing it? We hope the above tips help you decide if this green is for you or not. Happy growing – from our family to yours!