Real Men Sow

All Hail Curly Kale!

curly kaleThis morning I made an impromptu pre-work trip to the plot for some curly kale to have with dinner. Being one of the few veg coming off the plot at the moment, it’s taken a right bashing during January.

I’ve picked more than 600g over five harvests, which roughly equated to 42 of the tasty green leaves, from only four brilliant plants. For me, that’s one selfless, generous and productive vegetable.

Money Saver
I’ve used it in Pink of Perfection’s butternut squash and sausage casserole, chickpea and coconut curry, stir fry and as accompanying greens. It’s a wonderful thing, and at £5.95 a kilo in the shops, a good one to grow if saving money’s an objective. In fact, I saved a tidy £3.64 on kale alone during January.

What’s more, kale is very good for me. It is stuffed full of carotenoids, which are thought to be powerful anti-cancer agents, as well as Vitamins A and C and iron.

However, the thing I love about kale the most is not its superfood qualities, its lovely bright green leaves or the sweet cabbagey taste. No, I love kale simply because it is there when I need it. It’s tremendously hardy, defying anything winter can conjure up. ‘Eat me Jono, I’m here, you can rely on me,’ the tall green plant says when everything around is falling away.

There’s even a variety called Hungry Gap, celebrating this lonely and resilient existence.

Easy to Grow
Kale is dead easy to grow as well. It doesn’t mind poor soil, will tolerates shade, and seeds germinate at 5oC. The plant happily shrugs off the cold, and the leaves even sweeten after a frost.

I grow Dwarf Green Curled, although I’m tempted by the startlingly purple Scarlet next time around, as well as Hungry Gap for the sheer romance of it.

I could not be without kale, and I planted another late row towards the end of last summer, just in case I ate too much. I might not need it, but whatever happens, I’ll still get my greens.

All hail kale.

Tagged , , ,

Related Posts

Sign up to receive a RMS weekly bite size summary, featuring all posts from the previous seven days, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.


  1. SunnyUFebruary 4, 2011 at 3:04 pmReply

    I love kale too!! It’s very popular in Germany (where I’m from) and there are special deals in pubs/restaurants etc offering kale based meals after it had its first frost.

    I tried growing some myself but I think I left it too late in the summer last year so they didn’t get to grow much and then I didn’t net them so the wood pigeons had a right feast on them and when I came to check on them after a weekend, they had been completely stripped!!

    Must try harder this year…

    • Jono

      JonoFebruary 5, 2011 at 9:45 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Sunny.

      Wow, I’d love to go to a pub or restaurant were they did special kale based meals!

      Its normally white fly that causes me problems, rather than the pigeons. I planted African Marigolds around the kale last year, and that seemed to keep it away.

      Good luck this year!

  2. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Six Great Veg for Shady SpotsFebruary 16, 2011 at 9:16 amReply

    [...] I love kale, and I grow lots of the dwarf curled variety on the plot. This is the standard green leaf job, but some of the more exotic varieties are stunning. The [...]

  3. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Can I Sell My Allotment Produce?February 27, 2011 at 8:32 pmReply

    [...] grown far too much curly kale this year. I did this because I really love it, but now I’ve got a whole row of spare dwarf kale going [...]

  4. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » I Really Should Eat More Perpetual Spinach.March 13, 2011 at 9:36 amReply

    [...] According to the RMS Veg Savings Spreadsheet, it is by far the most expensive vegetable presently on the plot or in store. At £8.30 a kilo, it is £1.30 more expensive at that weight than the next priciest veg, curly kale. [...]

  5. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? April UpdateMay 3, 2011 at 6:06 pmReply

    [...] Left? Of my winter grub, I’ve got half a dozen leeks left, the dregs of my curly kale, and some finally failing perpetual spinach. There are three squashes left in store which are [...]

  6. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? May UpdateMay 31, 2011 at 6:06 pmReply

    [...] went soft, I pulled up the last leeks, and the ever faithful combo of perpetual spinach and curly kale went to [...]

  7. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » A Difficult Winter Ahead?October 13, 2011 at 6:51 pmReply

    [...] by whitefly, to the point where getting the eggs off before I eat it is near on impossible. Kale has been a mainstay of my winter diet ever since I took my plot on, and we tend to eat it at least once a week. I’m hoping a cold snap [...]

  8. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Come Dine With Me, Real Men Sow StyleDecember 11, 2011 at 7:17 pmReply

    [...] If I was going to do something a little different though, I might make beetroot burgers, which is an old favourite in our house. I could make my own baps, add some herbs to the bread for an allotmenty connection, and then serve with a mixture of parsnip, sweet potato and potato wedges. Greens would come courtesy of the ever faithful curly kale. [...]

Leave a Reply to SunnyU Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

Buy My Book on Amazon!


Sign Here for Updates!

Sign up to receive a regular RMS bite size summary, featuring all recent posts, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #15 – Blackberry and Apple Flapjack
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


As Featured In…