This is a blog post on growing and harvesting kale/ cavalo nero. Cavalo Nero simply means black kale in Italian. Kale has got many varieties like Chinese kale some are more cold weather tolerant than some. Kale is wintergreen that is tolerant to cold winter weather. Yes, even with snow outside it will survive. In fact, its flavor becomes more intense with the cold weather. Homegrown kale is more flavourful than supermarket-bought ones. Of course, it will never be as big as well.
It is great in stir-fries here is a recipe for cooking with kale using bacon. Although that recipe uses Cavolo nero it is the same. It is also great by simply blanching it and add some olive oil or butter. When it is harvested young like the homegrown ones it is possible to eat it raw like salad. It doesn’t need much cooking.
Growing and harvesting Kale/ Cavolo Nero
To get growing with Cavolo Nero is to grow from seeds. they are available to buy online. I bought mine from Premier seeds direct here is the link. Sow the seed under cover sometime in September latest October. It is possible to sow directly on the ground in late August. Once the seedlings are sprouted slowly plant them out. They do need to be mare mature so that they can survive the cold night/ early morning frost if there is any.
it is possible to grow them in pots or on the ground. Come late autumn and winter time they tend not to grow as much. That is why it is best to start them early in the season so as to give a chance for cavolo nero to mature. Do protect them from slug and other aphids as they just love to bite them. Grow them in well-drained compost and sunny spot. There is no need to protect them from frost as they are winter hardy.
They are ready to harvest when the leaves start to grow and produce a few branches. This will to stimulate the plant to produce more leaves. It is possible to harvest them latter. My kale plant have yet to mature to the nice strong branches and big leaves. As I tend to harvest them early.