Breeders have spent fifteen years crossing Kale with Brussels Sprouts to produce Brassica Petit Posy™, better known as Kalettes®. They make the perfect vegetable for those who are not a fan of sprouts, as the rosettes of frilly edged buttons have a flavour of spring greens. They also possess a similar nutritional value for our diets, but make a welcome change.
The buttons can be picked and added to stir fries, or steamed or microwaved as winter greens. Enough plants can be produced from one seed packet to supply our winter tables for up to five months. For the gardener with less time on their hands, plug plants are also available. Long stalks are produced that are very winter hardy, at a time when other vegetables are scarce. The leaves can be purple, green or a mixture of both.
Seeds can be sown from April through to early June. Sow them thinly in a well prepared seed bed, 12mm (1/2″) deep in drills 23cm (9in) apart. When the plants are substantial enough to be able to handle them, which is usually around five weeks after sowing, plant them with around 50cm (20in) between plants each way. Firm them in and water until established. The Kalettes® can be harvested from November through to March. Those who have not got around to an earlier sowing, or those with less time on their hands can purchase plug plants.
- Plants can be covered with fleece to avoid caterpillars and aphids.
- Companion planting with Nasturtiums can help to draw away cabbage white butterflies from the crop.
- Netting will help to avoid winter pigeon damage.
- Companion planting with mint is said to be a deterrent to flea beetles.
To view seeds and plug plants at Thompson & Morgan click here