Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Flowering Kale

Last year I grew kale for the first time. I bought a 4-pack of "Tuscano" kale and planted them in the kitchen garden. One of the plants didn't survive for very long. Another was planted too close to the deer fence. It was constantly "trimmed" all Summer and never had the chance to grow very large. The remaining two plants did quite well.

Above is a picture of one of the kale plants as it looked in late October. As you might be able to make out in the image, the leaves did suffer quite a bit of bug damage. I am not sure at this point who liked it so much, but somebody sure did! But the plants were large and healthy over-all. I left them in the garden to over winter.

Kale is a biennial plant, meaning that it grows its leaves, stems and roots the first year. Then, after a period of dormancy over the colder months, it flowers and sets its seed. In March, as I did some clean-up in the kitchen garden, I decided to keep one of the kale plants. I knew that it would soon start forming buds and would then bloom. I was interested to see what exactly a flowering kale looked like. Here it is! My plant is absolutely covering in beautiful yellow flowers. Each flower has 4 petals that open like a star. The blooms remind me of a mustard plant. I don't know if I will keep the kale in the ground long enough for the seed to set and dry. But for now it's a pretty burst of color in the young kitchen garden.

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