Back to Basics

The best of the best from the 2011 OG Test Gardens.

By Doug Hall

Photography by Christa Neu


toscano kaleKale


With its substantial, deeply textured leaves, this variety of kale is ornamental in the garden as well as delicious and nutritious as a cooking green. In late December, we were still eating the frost-sweetened leaves from our early spring sowing in the test garden.

Seed Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Growing tip: Although kale is generally a trouble-free crop, cabbageworms can turn its leaves to lace in midseason, says test gardener Jackie Smith, of Belle Plaine, Minnesota. “I hand-pick the cabbageworms from where they are lurking on the undersides of the leaves. If the infestation is more extensive, I pull out the BT [Bacillus thuringiensis] spray once or twice. The plants generally recover nicely by fall,” Jackie says. “My best kale tip is to plant it along with ornamentals in the flower border or in containers. It’s stunning!”