With all that is happening in our world currently, a lot of people are seriously looking at what it takes to provide for their family. If resources were scarce (and they’re not), could I adequately provide for my family? Part of our journey when we decided to homestead was to grow things that we enjoy and to insure that those things were grown in the healthiest way possible. We have greatly expanded from our meager beginnings to now being able to provide some of what we grow to not only family and friends, but to our local community through the farmer’s market. It’s provided some income for us, but more importantly it’s provided a sense of security knowing in tough times, we have the resources necessary to get by.
So in the next few weeks, I’m going to offer some tips on how to start becoming more sustainable. These are going to be simple easy to do things that anyone can do at home with minimal equipment or supplies. Let’s start easy, okay?
I’m going to start with kale. Recently I saw a facebook post from a friend of mine whose family had decided to start their own backyard garden. They went to the local hardware store where seeds are sold, and all the seeds were sold out, i.e., remember that part in the very beginning I wrote a lot of people are looking at ways to provide for their family … it turns out A LOT of people are doing it NOW. So I responded to her post and said, don’t forget, there are seeds in the fruits and vegetable you buy at the market, you can always use those to start your garden. She then asked about kale, how does one grow kale from kale and not seeds. I didn’t know, but suggested she put a clipping in some water to see if would start. After that post, I thought I’d do a little research and see if this actually can be done. It turns out it can, and this is how you do it:
It’s important to start with a healthy side stem with multiple leaves. Trim off lower side leaves, leaving only the top leaf. If you only have kale that has one large leaf, that is fine. Cut off the top half of the leaf, this will give the stem less stress and more energy to focus on growing some new roots. Cut the bottom or stem of the leaf at a 45 degree angle, and place it in a pot of well draining damp soil. Do not plant directly into the ground yet. We tend toward some heavy clay soils in different parts of our island, so avoid that. If you have to, buy some potting soil. Mist the soil frequently, but don’t overly saturate either. Roots should begin to grow in about 3 weeks. If you’ve got some root hormone, you can dip or spray the stem with that or dip the root in honey (yes honey) to help give it a start.
Once it’s established (approximately 3 months give or take a little), you can transplant it into the ground. If your pot is big, you can leave it in there, and eventually start other plants the same way or let it continue to grow until it eventually flowers and seeds. Save your seeds for your next batch.
Remember that top portion of the leaf you cut of earlier to less stress your plant? Well you can still eat that portion! So next time you buy kale, cut of the top parts of the leaves to eat, and try replanting the bottom to start your own mini kale garden. Kale is super nutritious. It’s loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C. It’s also a really versatile food – it can be eaten raw or cooked, and stores well frozen. I love splashing a little oil with salt and pepper and roasting it in the oven for a nice veggie chip. I add it to soups, pastas, and casseroles. I know some people don’t care for kale, but there are so many varieties out there. If you’re one of those people who aren’t partial to kale, I encourage you to give some other varieties a try. We’re growing a Russian kale right now that I really enjoy. It’s really mild in flavor and very tender.
Good luck to those of you who are just starting this sustainable life. I will say, there is nothing better tasting than a vegetable you’ve grown yourself!Follow my blog