Feature Wednesday – Red Russian Kale

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.

Cons…

▪︎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!


Feature Wednesday – Moss Curled Parsley

Parsley Pesto with Breakfast

We have grown this variety along side the flat leaf variety for a few years and have come to love this underdog variety of Parsley. Also known as Curly Parsley, it is beautiful as well as tasty! Here’s a few things we have learned over the few years we have been growing it:

▪︎It adds a lighter note of the Parsley flavor than its flat leaved cousin making it perfect for pesto!

▪︎It is much slower to bolt.

▪︎ It holds up much longer after harvesting.

▪︎The frilly leaves work great as garnish however if needed to add to a recipe its also a great option.

▪︎Benefits from quarterly fertilizing but does best if initial planting is done in soil rich in organic matter.

▪︎Germination can take upwards of three weeks so we find it best to start these indoors with the assistance of a heat mat and set out about 6 – 8 weeks after germination.

▪︎Although most recipes only call for the leaves we freeze the stems for later use in stew, chili, and soup.

▪︎It can tolerate frost in our area down to about 15 degrees (which we seldom see) making it a great addition to Fall gardens. Not to mention Parsley is immune boosting, antioxidant rich, AND hearth healthy! We hope you are growing it too!

▪︎With some time and attention you can propagate it from cuttings.

▪︎Draws the Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly – HUGE PLUS! Just be sure to plant enough to share! Here is a video of us releasing a Swallowtail that was pretty much raised on fennel & parsley as a caterpillar.

Cons…

▪︎Curly leaves make it more difficult to clean.

▪︎Compact bush habitat means it’s lower to the ground and can become quite dirty after it rains. We prefer to grow it in the high tunnel to avoid this.

So tell us – are you growing Moss Curled Parsley? Will you include it in your next growing season? If you do we hope these tip – from our family to yours – help!


Feature Wednesday’s – What Is That?

When we began our farm journey we wondered how many people felt like we did – overwhelmed, under prepared, … just plain lost! If you are like us, you have logged many hours on YouTube already! Still it can be very difficult figuring out which varieties of crops to include in your gardens, farms, and homesteads. We sympathize. Although we have only been faming for a short while we have already tried many popular and not so popular varieties. So we decided to share our successes AND fails with you. Perhaps from our mistakes someone else could learn. We most certainly do! In keeping with that theme we would like to introduce Feature Wednesday’s. Every Wednesday we will feature a different seasonal crop we are growing. We will share tid bits of what we’ve learned as we have grown the featured crop. Since there are only so many weeks per season and we are only growing so many crops each season, there maybe weeks at a time where there will be no posts here. We will however share the pros and cons of each crop!

You are now in a safe place. Are you ready to learn?