Kale: Ornamental and Edible

Kale is an edible, ornamental plant that is easy to grow in your fall garden. It doesn’t matter whether you are adding a colorful healthy edible dish to your menu, or a ornamental splash of color in the garden. Kale is a great plant to include in your fall garden or where you may want to try your hand at a symmetrical garden with great edibles.

Kale is originally a dish that is found widely in European countries ever since the 15th century. It was transported to America by the Germans in the 1600’s. It was also a common addition to victory gardens in World War II and can still be found in dishes from Ireland to Africa.

"Green Kale"

Green Kale

Kale is a big part of German culture where they have Kale festivals and crown a “Kale Queen” and “Kale King” during the Grunkohlfarht or kale tour. In parts of Ireland, they Colcannon a dish made from Kale and mashed potatoes that are salted and peppered and melted in a pan. In Africa, it is an important part of a dish called Ugali. In this dish they boil the kale in coconuts and mix in ground peanuts. Not only does the kale add color to your plate, but is is also very healthy for you.

Kale is an excellent source of calcium as well as being a good source of vitamin B and Beta carotene. It is also full of phytochemicals that ward off cancer. This plant is also the best source for vitamin K, which help maintain bone mass. It is best to purchase kale when it is in season. Early fall to beginning of winter is the best time to buy it. It tastes sweeter after a light frost. Don’t wash it until you are ready to eat it because it spoil very easily.

"Red Kale"

Red Kale

There are three common types of kale. Green Kale,is the most common one and the easiest variety to find at your local grocery store or supermarket. Red Kale is less common but can still be found at most supermarkets. Ornamental Kale is very seasonal and can only be found in the fall. Animals, such as rabbits and deer, are often known to eat kale as well.

"Patch of Ornamental Kale"

Patch of Ornamental Kale

At around one foot wide and six inches tall this colorful cousin of cabbage is a great addition to any yard. They bloom from the first week in October to the second week in November.

"Ornamental Kale"

Decorative Ornamental Kale

While kale can stand up to freezing temperatures, they can’t handle a prolonged frost.Ornamental Kale is edible as long as it has not been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

If you purchase them from a nursery, you might need to ask them about what has been put on the plants. They, in turn, can ask the growers about any type of chemicals put on the plants.

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