Kale still riding high

Beckie Fox

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Redbor kale grows well in containers (Photo by Carol Pope)

It was the 1990s when kale began its meteoric rise from merely a decorative annual used in fall containers to a nurient-rich superfood with recipes for kale chips, smoothies, salads and stir-fries everywhere. Kale continues to be popular, and fortunately it’s an easy crop. Our article by Carol Pope “6 beautiful kales to grow” lists popular varieties for the garden and your dinner plate.

Many of the edible varieties are also ornamental. I’m thinking of using the dramatic blue-green ‘Tuscan’ kale as foliage interest in container combinations this summer.

Redbor kale grows well in containers (Photo by Carol Pope)
‘Redbor’ kale grows well in containers (Photo by Carol Pope)

Good advice on vegetable growing and more

I subscribe to various gardening newsletters, and enjoy reading what gardeners across Canada, as well as the U.S. and Great Britain, are experiencing or trying. We don’t all share the same climate or growing conditions (or budgets!), but I often find a nugget of information or inspiration that’s useful.

I loved the headline “Turn Off the News and Start Gardening” in the recent newsletter from Mark and Ben Cullen in Ontario. Their website contains plenty of advice for vegetable growers, such as listing what frost-tolerant seed can be sown now. April is also a good time to plant perennial crops, such as asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries.

Canadian Steven Biggs at Food. Garden. Life. has a new six-part video series called Edible Garden Makeover aimed at helping gardeners new to vegetable growing. The series is free, but registration is limited.

When the weather turns too cold or rainy to venture into the garden and you want to dream a little, check out 12 Virtual Garden Tours to Do From Home, compiled by Gardens Illustrated. All are grand gardens in the UK and Europe, but since we can’t fly there to experience these first-hand, this might be the next-best thing.

Pergola plans

To enhance your socially distanced dinners in the garden, consider constructing a pergola. The Spruce Gardens lists 17 free building plans to get you started.

Late-breaking news

Take pity on the Brits. According to a recent news story in The Guardian, the Suez Canal crisis was worse than we thought — they’re now suffering from a shortage of gnomes. We send our sympathy.

Gardening highlights from readers

Here are a few more gardening adventures, gleaned from comments readers submitted in a survey on gardening we conducted last fall. Good ideas worth trying.

•  “My morning glories get terrible spider mites, so I swapped them for passion flower vines on the same trellis. They were still flowering in November on my southern sixth floor balcony in Toronto. What a grand success!”

•  “I planted beans at the end of July and was pleasantly surprised by a good crop in September and October.”

•  “I used T-posts secured with U-bolts to each outer edge of a raised bed, ran heavy jute across the top and used medium twine vertically and pinned it into the soil to support my indeterminate tomato plants. As the plants grew, I wound the twine around the stem. This worked as a great support. I bagged bunches of green and growing tomatoes to prevent chipmunks and squirrels from getting them. Best crop ever.”

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