Friday, December 17, 2010

Nero Di Toscana Kale: Heirloom Brassica

I grew this for the first time in years last winter and quickly became enamored with the lovely color, mild sweet flavor, and tender stringless texture. It laughed at two nights of 27 degrees cold climates like Denver where I gardened and landscaped for 15 years, it would be a stellar crop for late winter/early spring sowing. This year I started a few dozen from seeds for me and friends, and today I filled two black plastic compost barrels with lasagna layers of dead potted plants, aged wood chips mulch, fresh horse stall sweepings and soil from the chicken scratch path, deep watered, drenched it all with poopy water from the duck's above ground pool (read "dumpster-dived dinghy:), then planted seedlings of 'Nero Di Toscana'. Tampa is having yet another very dry winter, and so I am planting most of my winter crops in Water Wise Container Gardens I make from scavenged plastic buckets and tubs as it takes a LOT of water to keep Tampa's sandy soil damp during a sustained drought.

I can't imagine gardening and eating without the Brassica family.  John


  1. I love the fact that, in the link you provide, this "Nero Di Toscana Kale" is described as, and actually looks, "palm-like." Perfect for a Florida landscape! I could see it fitting in nicely under some typical front yard landscape palms even.

  2. Yes it is lovely plant....older plants remind me of "Walking Stick Collards" due to the erect stalk with ridges where leaves dropped off leaving scars. Last winter, friends, students and I marvelled at how mild and sweet and tender the leaves were snapped right off the plants. I now have some seedlings growing atop a 55 gallon compost barrel, and will likely plant the others out front between the roses and daylilies and Louisiana Iris. John