Brisbane Local Food

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Has anyone grown Red Kale (Russian)? Or grown kale from seed? Last year I had great success with the Scotch Kale that were grown from seedlings, and thought to diversify this autumn with other varieties. Seeds of the Italian and Russian varieties are available on ebay - wondered if they could be successfully grown in our warm(ish) winter?

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First-time Kale grower ... grew Red Russian under a 30 percent shadecloth white-cabbage-butterfly-proof cover. From seed and from an eBay seller, forget which one. I've never eaten Kale, either so didn't and still don't know what to expect, nothing to judge it against. It grew into fairly large plants maybe 2 feet tall, spread of a foot perhaps. I grew them in a styrene box so they would grow bigger in more soil. Really, the leaves tasted 'green'. Not like Cabbage or Broccoli or Mustard - I had expected a mustard-type flavour. There are supposed health-benefits from Kale but there are Kales and Kales. Peter Cundall swears by the stuff but he lives in a more Kale-friendly climate. There's better flavour in general when European plants are grown in the cool. It's too long ago to remember the flavour of the cool-grown cabbage-family plants which my dad grew in Sydney so there's nothing to compare. I've bought seeds of some more weird cabbage-family Oriental varieties to try and see if they have more flavour than the Kale. We're on the edge if not over it, of the range for cabbage-family plants and Brussel Sprouts especially don't grow well here in Briz (micro-climates excepted) but do well in cooler spots - all I got was huge plants and no sprouts and lots of compost material.
Elaine, are you growing kale now? I thought it'd be too hot, waiting till it cools down a bit. I loved the scotch kale that Chris Zane introduced me to, and thought I'd try the Red Russian as well, this year. Have you tried kale chips? Absolutely delicious, and a hit with my young rellies! Here's a youtube presentation on how to make them - dead easy!
No Addy, I pulled it out a month or so ago. Did the Scotch Kale taste like anything special? Kale chips, now I've heard about them ... and no I did not try them - forgot, naturally ;-)
I grew Kale Tuscan Black (from Diggers) last year, but it wasn't as big as I was expecting it to be. Used the leaves a little bit in stir fry but other than that kept forgetting about them. Just went to their website to check the variety and they say to use the leaves as a wrap - I can see that working as they were very thick and water beaded on them.
Last year I grew the Tuscan black Kale, over winter I think! Planted the seeds directly in the garden and the grew very easily with minimal care. I harvested for quite a lon period and used the leaves in casseroles and risotto, just like you would silverbeet. Tasted so delicious, I can't wait to grow it again! Towards the end of the season as it warmed up I had to fight the bugs for it though and eventually gave up!
Sounds promising! Maybe I'll try the Tuscan this year.
My brussel sprouts grew big but just got hammered by the bugs- snails of all things. No food so i pulled them out :( i will try Kale. there are some great recipies in wholefood cookbooks and we need to eat more green leafy vegetables.
What is the best type to grow in brisbane?
when is the best time to plant?
does anyone have seeds to spare?
Usually cabbage family grows best in the cooler months. Consider putting in seeds early March or buying seedlings around then. Brussel Sprouts do best in a cooler climate than Brisbane. Tamborine Mountain is a good place - just that little bit of elevation gives much cooler temps and the BSs thrive there where they struggle here. Although there are parts of Bris which get frost, if you live in one of those micro-climates, BSs might produce for you.

The best type of Kale is the ones you can get the seeds for and which will grow in your yard. That's a trial and error thing unless you have a neighbour who grows it and you can pick their brains. ;-)

If you want to be certain of not having White Cabbage Butterfly larvae munching your cabbage-family plants (and that includes Rocket and Radish too) then when the weather warms up a bit, net the plants with fly wire. It will keep off the flying things and not stop the sun. There's other methods but if you can build a large enough cage so the buggers can't land on the leaves and leave eggs, fly wire works a treat and is good for next year as well. Or there's that white horticultural cloth, never tried it but seen it in the hardware store.
Hi Cassandra, I can probably give you a few of my seeds - will you be going to the next Garden Visit?
Cass, I'll be getting seedlings of the scotch curled kale - the lady at the markets said in 4 weeks - but might try a few from seeds - if I can find room in the beds!


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