JJ Kale and lots of colour

The garden is full of colour and flavour at the moment and this morning I picked the first of our ripe strawberries growing in the new garden bed. I’ve had strawberries growing in one of those holey terracotta pots for years now and every now and then we get the odd undersized shrivelled strawberry, if the possum doesn’t get to it first!

They’ve been disappointing to say the least and the new ones are already proving to be more successful. I’m trying a few different varieties this time and the first to fruit are the ‘Red Gauntlet’, an old Scottish variety that are supposed to do okay in the southern areas of Australia.

The few bright red plump berries looked absolutely delicious as they sat at the front of the garden bed this morning and knowing there’s a possum on the prowl was enough of a reason to pluck them out of harms way. While they looked colourful and scrumptious, our taste test over breakfast proved them to be ‘okay’. A bit watery and sweet enough but nothing like the luscious sweet strawberries I sometimes get from Luddenham in western Sydney. It’s a great start but I get the feeling that growing and selecting the right variety of strawberries for our conditions in Sydney will definitely be a work in progress.

First born strawberries

Up until May this year, when my delivery of winter organic seeds arrived from Green Harvest, I’d never heard of the vegetable Kale. Didn’t even know what it looked like. I’m a curious type so decided there’s no better way to find out than to grow it.

After planting a few seeds directly into the terraced beds, seedlings soon shot up and the plants haven’t looked back since. They’ve grown to around 30cm and as it turns out it’s quite a beautiful looking plant with bluish-green curly leaves and purple stems. It belongs to the Brassicacea Family of plants alongside broccoli, cabbage, radish, rocket and cauliflower and a whole range of Asian cabbages such as bok choy and wong bok.  For some strange reason I had in my head that it was going to grow a bulb thing at the base but recently it dawned on me that I’ve been mistaking it for kolrabi which is a similar colour and another brassica and another plant I know little about. Anyway, now that I no longer have to wait for a bulb to appear, I got wondering what on earth am I going to do with it. And then serenditpity arrived in the shape of the ABC Organic Gardener magazine with a three page spread on recipes for kale!

It appears that kale can be substituted for almost any recipe that calls for headed cabbage whether it is a cooked dish or salad so I might even give coleslaw a go. But this week we’ll be trying Julie Ray’s Kale, Asparagus and Leek Tart and if my beetroot it ready, it will be accompanied by Roasted Fennel and Beetroot Salad.

If it’s a success, I’ll post the recipe.


2 responses to “JJ Kale and lots of colour

  1. For a few years now we have been growing strawberries with little success. By little I mean few. Until just recently we have had them in pots however have found as we don’t get many off a plant that is not the way to go. The few we do get are delicious though. They are now in the ground and we are taking advantage of their runners. Hopefully soon I can share a success story.

    • Thanks for visiting my site Jason. It sounds like your potted strawberries have been about as successful as ours! You can imagine my delight when I discovered the Red Gauntlet already fruiting after 6 weeks and not bad fruit either. But these ones are in a raised garden bed in full sun and not in a pot. Keep me posted on how yours go this spring and summer.

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