Here at Clive’s we are positively bursting with planty goodness (just like our pies). This September, as part of Organic Month, we’re helping you #PlantSomePositivity with our free kale seed giveaway. That’s right, you can have a go at growing your very own organic kale and learn lots of amazing things about organic farming – why it’s good for you, and for the planet!
If you’re on this page, you’ve probably already got your hands of one of our lovely kale seed packs, but if not follow this link to find the retailers taking part! Here we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to plant your kale and take care of it – along with some tasty ideas of how to enjoy it when its ready to harvest.
All hail kale!
First things first, why did we choose kale? Well, people have been growing this green leafy superfood for over 2,000 years (back when everything was organic). It’s incredibly nutritious – jam packed with all the good stuff like iron, calcium, fibre, protein, magnesium, Omega-3’s Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It also has lots of phytonutrients (that’s antioxidants to you and I), which help your liver to detox, reduces inflammation and can even protect the brain cells from stress.
It’s also the perfect thing to grow during cooler months of the year. Yes, believe it or not as the temperature cools a molecular miracle takes place and kale actually starts tasting even better. Whilst other veg succumbs to the chill of winter, kale stands strong and its sugars start to concentrate making it just that bit sweeter. Neat huh?
How to grow your organic kale
Sow the seeds
- You’ll want to do this as soon as you can! Although kale likes cooler weather, they’ll need some of summer’s lovely warmth to get started. If you’ve got a garden, you can sow the seeds outside, if not simply pop them in a bright spot in the house such as a window ledge or conservatory. Sow the seeds about 1cm deep, 60 cm apart from each other. If you don’t get around to sowing your kale seeds right away, don’t panic! Our kale seeds last for about 4 years, so you can always have a go next year. The absolute best time to plant them is between March and June.
- After about 6 weeks your kale plants should have blossomed into beautiful young plants. The trick to knowing when they’re ready is when they have at least five true leaves on them. Now it’s time to move them to their growing position! Make sure you give them a good drink of water the day before moving day, so they’re ready for the upheaval.
- Transplant your little kale plants into a nice sunny spot in the garden, or somewhere indoors where they will get plenty of direct natural light – spacing them about 45 cm apart. Make sure you keep them well watered through dry spells, protect them from birds if needed by covering with some netting and keep an eye out for caterpillars who come a-crawling! When you’re growing small scale like this, the best way to avoid your plants getting eaten is to pick off little beasties like caterpillars and ask them to kindly go on their way.
- From October onwards, you should be able to start harvesting your delicious organic kale. When leaves get to about 10cm long they are ripe for the picking! And that’s really all there is to it. See, going organic is easier than you think!
Some tasty ideas
Naturally, we are HUGE fans of kale. And it’s actually one of the stars of the show in our Organic Lentil & Kale Tart. We team it with earthy lentils and a berry zing, which is a match made in heaven – trust us!
The amazing thing about kale though, is that it works alongside pretty much any pie or tart we make. As the nights get longer and temperatures cool, we like it lightly steamed alongside our warming Creamy Mushroom, Chestnut & Bean or French Cassoulet Pies. If you prefer your pies at lunch though, try drizzling a tiny bit of olive oil onto the kale, give it a good scrunch and see some true magic taking place! This gentle squeeze tenderises the kale and accentuates its natural green goodness.
Organic fact – did you know?
Kale is on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list. What does this mean we hear you cry! Well, a group based in the US called The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been helping shoppers go organic since 2004, regularly publishing reports and guides that point out pesticides in produce. In 2020, they released a list called the ‘Dirty Dozen’ which includes the 12 worst offenders for pesticide use in non-organic farming. Kale came in at number 3, just behind strawberries and spinach!