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Food Nature

Kale

It’s been a while since I gave a Garden Cheerleader update.

The tomatoes are doing well, not a bumper crop but delivering at least one or two ripe tomatoes every few days. The peppers are also popping with regular frequency, and the oregano and basil do well as long as they are kept watered.

Our one tiny cluster of grapes is shifting from green to purple, which is exciting. I’ve been around gardens before; my grandmother grew tomatoes and other vegetables every year, and so did I when I was a child, once or twice. But this is my first experience with growing grapes. I’m so emotionally invested in this first batch that I may not be able to eat them once they’re ripe.

What’s truly thriving in our little backyard garden is kale. It doesn’t seem to require a lot of watering. The occasional rain shower and some in-between offerings from the backyard hose are apparently sufficient. Sometimes, I see evidence of bugs on the plants, but for the most part, they seem to be bug-free, growing steadily in their dark green, heavy-leafed way.

I’m not a fan of kale; my experiences eating raw kale were not enjoyable. I chewed, and chewed, and chewed, and the pieces didn’t seem to get smaller, and the flavor was acrid and unpleasant. In my opinion, kale has one purpose: to be cooked into soups and stews, a hearty background vegetable that gives a touch of texture and vitamins. Cooked into something, the leaves become soft, and the flavor becomes secondary.

Like a good Garden Cheerleader, I’m proud of the kale success we’re seeing, even if I don’t put kale at the top of my vegetable favorites. I know it’s good for me; I’m grateful to have it.

Where’s the soup kettle? Let’s make some dinner.

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