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Thanksgiving greens

By Penny Stine

While I was perusing through Thanksgiving cooking tips and tidbits, I came across an interesting salad using kale. In fact, kale was the only ingredient besides the homemade dressing, which had whole grain mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and olive oil in it. I decided it's going on our Thanksgiving menu, since I still have kale in my garden. 


I don't pull my kale at the end of the season unless it's totally overrun with aphids. So I went out at noon today and picked this bowl of greens.  Not a bad haul for November.


After I picked it, I realized I should have taken a photo of the kale still in the garden, so after I rinsed off the greens, I headed back out to the garden with my camera.

This is a dwarf blue kale (I think). I planted it in the spring of 2011 and it survived last winter and continued to produce all summer - again. It's planted in a rather shady spot, which is why the leaves stay so tiny. 





This is red Russian kale. Sometimes it over-winters, and sometimes it doesn't. So far, it's not looking too happy.  I think it's lack of water rather than cold temperatures making it look sad.



I got the seeds for these plants from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. It's supposed to be this heirloom Italian loose-leafed cabbage called Nero di Toscano. Since kale and cabbage are kin, I suspect this is also what some seed companies call dinosaur kale. 




The salad said to use kale or Swiss chard. I also have a few Swiss chard plants still trying to survive, so I picked the biggest leaves I could find (and took the photo below afterward.)



Even though I haven't made it or tasted it yet, I decided the salad was too boring. I'm going to add some toasted nuts (pecans? almonds?) to the greens and some chopped thyme to the dressing. 

The kale in my garden seems to be doing fine, which makes me a happy November gardener. I suspect it would be doing much finer if it had more water, but I'm not willing to drag hoses around in the dark when I get home from work. 


When I got back to work, I decided to write the following Ode to Kale:

You're not picky about water,
you're always leafy, green and hearty.
In heat, through frost or cold fronts,
you're the main star of my garden party.

OK, so I won't give up my day job to pursue a career as a poet.  


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