Friday, January 23, 2009

Kale Under Ice

My kale bed has been buried under the snow for a good number of weeks now, and I wanted to see how the plants were doing. So I decided to uncover one of the plants. I brushed away a top layer of relatively soft snow, and then had to break through a heavier, icy crust before exposing the plant.

This particular plant seemed to be doing quite well. Its upper most leaves were wilted and damaged, but the lower ones seemed fine. I separated three of the lower leaves from the stalk and found them to be crisp and supple, with only a little frost damage on one of them. I covered it up again, and didn't bother inspecting the other plants.

So I've declared this winter planting and harvesting experiment a success! We've had plenty of snow and consistently sub-freezing temperatures for several weeks now, and the kale still seems to be thriving, with nothing but a layer of mulch below, and a cover of snow above, to protect it. Next season, I'll try planting a larger collection of different varieties of kale plants, and we'll see how that goes. It would also be interesting if these particular plants go to seed in a few more months, when the weather warms up.


Shellmo said...

I never knew this about Kale?
Is that your home in the blog header? It is gorgeous!!!

John Poole said...

Hi Shelley!

Welcome to my blog! Yes, that's my home, and thank you very much for the compliment! It's a wonderful old home, but as you can imagine, the on-going preservation work can be pretty daunting at times!

Regarding kale, yes, it's a very hardy plant, and if well covered, can survive very severe winters. There are two good articles here on kale, if you want to read further.

Also, the 2009 edition of the Old Farmers Almanac has an interesting article about vegetables that can be harvested through out the winter, including kale.

- John