Scotch dwarf blue kale harvest

Tonight, after the sun had been down for four hours and all the “field heat” had chilled off my garden, I did my first snip-harvest of curly Scotch dwarf blue kale. The plants looked like this, post-harvest:

20120404-233423.jpg

And the harvest in the basket was pretty, too:

20120404-233517.jpg

Lacinato Kale harvest

Today, I harvested my first kale of the spring. You may recall that I started a few items, including the kale, from seed, on January 29. About 65 days later, I snip-harvest about one and a half pounds of lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale.

Here’s how the plants looked after I snipped the outside leaves:

20120404-232421.jpg

Part of the reason I harvested was that, since these plants are in containers and I want the most production from each container, the plants are close together. When they get big, they can shade other plants. Periodic snip-harvesting the largest outside leaves solves this problem. It also gives us some great food, plus the plants get to concentrate their growth energy into the small remaining leaves. Win-win-win!

Here is tonight’s haul, including both lacinato kale and Scotch dwarf blue kale, a curly variety.

20120404-233031.jpg

A Tale of 2 Kales

Since my last post, I planted out all the seedlings I started in the garage under grow lights, and over a heat mat. All are doing well, especially the kale.
The pix below show their final seedling size, how the seedling plugs looked before planting them, and after planting them in Grow Boxes (one box per variety: lacinato and dwarf blue scotch,) how the boxes look with floating row cover over the plants (to exclude insects that ate the last batch) and how they look today, with the cover removed. Looking good so far.
(if the pictures are out of order, I’ll fix them later. I’m posting from my iPhone, and some compromises accompany the convenience.)

20120325-121704.jpg

20120325-121743.jpg

20120325-121758.jpg

20120325-121822.jpg

20120325-121838.jpg

20120325-121902.jpg

20120325-122006.jpg

20120325-122019.jpg

Kale, Dill, And Basil = the Cotyledon Forest

Seedlings emerge from seeds with the familiar white stem we think of as a “sprout”, topped by a set of special leaves. This first set of leaves looks nothing like the leaves this plant will grow next and forever. This initial set of leaves is called the cotyledons. The leaves that follow, in the shape characteristic of the plant type, are the true leaves.

Here’s our own miniature “forest” of cotyledons, mostly kale, with some other herbs stepping up.

20120205-225732.jpg

Here are chives, bustin’ out. The one on the left is just short of a centimeter in length.
20120205-225748.jpg