Jagallo Nero is a black kale variety with leaves that look a bit different from the more common black kale varieties, like for example Nero di Toscana. The leaves are thin and lobed. They grow straight on the main stem but the kale develops side shoots from the stem too. Most black kale varieties are very thick with leathery leaves. This variety has a different feel to it though, since the leaves are so thin. It's a different culinary experience compared to the more regular kale varieties. The kale has a nice, mild taste. You can eat it fresh or cooked.
Jagallo Nero is just as easy to grow as most other kale varieties. You can sow it in winter (wintersowings), in spring or in summer and you can get great results from both large and small plants, depending on when you decide to sow your kale.
- Family: Brassica oleracea
- Height (approx.): 2-32ft
- Spacing: 45cm (18in)
- Tolerates cold conditions
- Improves after a hard frost
Sowing: Sow in spring and autumn
Sow the seeds in a seed bed from April onwards. The timing is not crucial because kales will germinate in temperatures as low as 5°C (42°F) and as high as 35°C (95°F). That's an enormous range for any vegetable. The trick is to time the planting so the kale matures in cold weather.
Kale does not tolerate heat, so direct seed or transplant kale so that it comes to harvest before day time temperatures exceed 80°F.
Sow kale under cover in autumn for baby leaves after four to six weeks, or directly outdoors for an over-wintering crop.
Sow the seeds about 1.5cm (½in) deep in rows which are 22cm (9in) apart. Germination will take about 10 days. When the plant is about 22cm (9in) high and four leaves have developed (about 6 -8 weeks after sowing) transplant them to their final positions.
They should be planted slightly deeper than they grew in the seed bed. Spacings are 45cm (18in) apart with rows the same distance apart. Water the young plants in dry weather.
Almost no care is required because these are one of the strongest and most disease resistant of all vegetables. Remove yellowing leaves which may appear round the base. Keep the weeds under control with regular hoeing. As winter approaches earth up plants to protect against frost and wind rock. Mulch thickly when the ground freezes and you can harvest again in early spring.
Harvest: Matures 53 to 65 days from transplant.
Wait until the plants are touched by a frost to sweeten the taste. When the leaves have experienced a cold snap, they wrinkle and curl and strengthen greatly, creating a more satisfying, textural leaf. Some of the tastiest kale is harvested under a foot of snow!
Pluck individual leaves as you need them; one or two leaves for each serving. Avoid cutting the developing bud at the centre of each plant.