Easier to grow than celery, but with a similar taste, this hardy veg deserves to be more widely grown.
‘PRINZ’: Good resistance to bolting.
‘MONARCH’: Award-winning variety with a good flavor.
‘BRILLIANT’: Large, smooth roots. Stores well.
PEST AND DISEASE WATCH
CELERY LEAF MINER: Pick off individual leaves or cover plants with netting.
SLUGS: Use your favourite form of slug control, such as pallets, barriers or traps.
CELERY LEAF SPOT: Spray with Vitas Organic 2 in 1 (fish oils).
CARROT FLY: Consider covering the crop with Enviromesh, Veggiemesh or similar after planting if the post is a problem in your area.
Like it’s cousin celery, celeriac wants a fertile moisture-retentive soil. Pick a spot which has had plenty of well-rotted organic matter dug in during the previous winter.
This crop does need a long season in order to produce nice big ‘bulbs’ (It is really a swollen stem). Sow in Match in cell trays or seed trays filled with fresh multi-purpose compost and place in a heated propagator set at 18C (65F). If started in seed trays prick the seedlings out as soon as they are large enough to handle and move into small pots or cells. Harden off before planting out in late May. Alternatively buy in young plants from specialists.
Plant out your youthful plants 30cm (12in) apart and let 58cm (15in) between rows. Dig Out а appropriate sized hole with a trowel and pop the plant in. Business nicely keeping the crown just above water and the soil surface completely. It really is essential your plants receive loads of water during dry spells right through the growing period to avoid any checks in development which may result in bolting. Keep the rows weed free.
Harvest the ‘roots’ from October onwards when they reach at least 8cm (3in) in diameter. Much of the weight is put on by the roots late in the season and being quite hardy they can be left in the ground to develop until needed. Cover with fleece or straw to protect them from the winter cold or lift, trim off the leaves and stone in boxes of dry peat or sand.
Rich in vitamins K, A and C, this easy to grow vegetable has recently gained almost cult status as something of a superfood.
Kale is less fussy about soil than other brassicas, though it’s always a good idea to dig in well-rotted manure in the winter and add lime if your soil is a little acidic.
Sow kale seeds April-May, though you can start them off in modular cell trays or 7 ½ cm (3in) pots first if you prefer. Sow thinly to a depth of 1cm with 15cm (6in) between drills. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 5cm (2in) apart.
When the young plants are 12-15cm (5-6in) tall, move them to their final position, 45-60cm (1 ½ , 2ft) apart depending on variety, late June to early August. Apply a general fertiliser soon after planting, water well in dry periods and hoe regularly between plants and rows.
You can choose a loose leaved or curly leaved variety, or why not grow both?
‘DARKIBOR F1‘ : This produces dark leaves, finely curled. A very hardy variety.
‘DWARF GREEN CURLED’: This is a good option for small space gardening. It produces dark leaves in tightly curled frills. Very hardy.
‘NERO Dl TOSCANA‘: This variety originated in Tuscany. Dark, Savoy-like leaves with a peppery taste. Good cooked but also good in salads if picked young.
PEST AND DISEASE WATCH
APHIDS: These feed on the sap of the plant and axcrete honeydew, which then causes a sooty mould. Insect netting will keep these out.
CATERPILLARS: Cabbage white caterpillars are partial to kale so cover your plants with butterfly netting or check leaves regularly and destroy eggs.
CABBAGE WHITEFLY: These are a sap-sucking insect that flies up in a cloud when you touch the plant. Insect netting will help protect kale from this pest.