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Kale is no longer the “superfood” darling. Foodies hailed kale plenty long enough and have moved on to broccoli rabe, goji berries, almonds or whatever. It’s just not the new kid on the block anymore.

Except it’s not a kid. The leafy green is a primitive member of the cabbage (Brassica) family and has been cultivated since 2000 B.C., says the National Garden Bureau. FYI, that’s when the last wooly mammoth went extinct, according to Wikipedia.

Kale arrived in the Americas in the 1600s. For reference, Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, was founded in Virginia in 1607. Summing up, kale is a really, really old vegetable.

Plant kale in rich, well-drained soil. Avoid planting where kale or cabbage grew last year. Kale performs best in cool weather in spring or late fall. The earlier the better in spring. You can direct seed in mid to late April to mid-May, planting 3 or 4 seeds in groups about ¼-inch deep. Plant a fall crop in the late summer.

“Scarlet” is a dark green kale with red veined, curly, long broad leaves that reaches 24 to 36 inches high and can spread 24 inches. The plant has an upright habit and is pretty enough with its frilly leaves to be grown in containers. (Terra Organics)

In the SimplySalad kale series, “Storm” is a mixture of several kale varieties in a range of textures and colors, including green, purple and bluish green. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches high and spread 12 to 24 inches. The flavor is described as “robust.” (Ball Horticultural Co./PanAmerican Seed)

“Prizm” is characterized by fine, curled leaves on short, compact plants. Leaves are small, dark green and tender in salads. The petite plant is suitable for high-density planting spaced 4 inches apart. (Syngenta Flowers Inc.)

Vates kale types are known for their curly, blue-green leaves, and “Darkibor” is no exception. This kale resists bolting and yellowing and is described as having improved yields and excellent color. It is easily adaptable to containers and is available as organic seed. (Bejo Seeds, Inc.)

That old “Black Magic” will have you in its spell with its wide blue-green leaves. Plants grow 12 to 18 inches tall. (Seeds by Design, Inc.)

Source: National Garden Bureau

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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