This blog is different from most of my others. It is specific instruction on how to grow the surplus seedlings that I am sharing with others. Today, we will look at kale and two types of squash, spaghetti and butternut.
In the coming days and weeks, you can expect more of these as I put more of my beloved babies up for adoption to good homes. Of course, if you are not Swansea local and the beneficiary of my largesse, you can still use these as a growing guide for your own seedlings.
I had never eaten this green until I came to Wales, but now it makes our food security list. Kale can be eaten raw in salads or cooked. It can add flavor to stews, soups, and casserole as well as being one of your five-a-day servings of fruit and veg.
It is also shockingly easy to grow in this climate. The good news is that you still have time to plant out kale, either in pots for transplanting later, direct sowing into your bed or container, or as seedlings.
These are my strays from last year that I have allowed to go to seed for collecting. As you can see, these beauties get rather large. Those are about three or four feet high.
While kale prefers being planted directly into the soil or a raised bed, it can be grown in containers as well – as long as they are big enough. Five liters or 8 to 12 inches deep is the minimum. Bigger is better. Those are 7.5-liter pots that I have planted out for my friends. Remember to ALWAYS provide any plants grown in containers with a liquid fertilizer every week or two, especially after that first month when the nutrients in the soil have been exhausted. Kale prefers sunlight but can tolerate partial shade as well. And water well, especially if growing it in a container.
But don’t worry about wasting space, kale can be companion planted with many things:
- and those pots have spinach seeds that have not yet sprouted.
But avoid strawberries, tomatoes, and beans.
It takes between 55 and 75 days from direct sowing to harvest, but with these seedlings that is cut to 30 or 40. This means you have time to start more seedlings for transplanting in the late summer or early autumn. You will be able to enjoy fresh kale all winter long.
So, go ahead transplant these beauties on now. They have even been hardened out overnight already.
Both of these are winter squash and take between 80 and 110 days to grow to maturity. Butternut squash will yield between 10 to 20 squash per plant, but a spaghetti one only produces four to six mature fruit. They also require a great deal of space. Spaghetti squash can grow up to five meters in length. So unless you love these winter vegs or have loads of space in your garden, this might not be a good investment of time and space in terms of your family’s food security. They do though store relatively well.
Obviously, these girls prefer being planted into the ground or a raised bed. But with some work, they can be grown in containers. But a minimum of five gallons or 50 cm is required. But again, companion planting will allow you to get maximum yield from limited space. The Native Americans had a system of companion planting; they called the Three Sisters: beans, corn, and squash. The corn grows tall and has a hardy stalk that the beans can climb up, while the squash covers the ground beneath, offering a living mulch that retains water and minimizes the need for weeding. Other good companions include herbs, cucumbers, radishes, and some flowers such as borage, marigold, and nasturtium.
One thing to remember is that squash are not loners; they need to pollinate with other squash to maximize your harvest. So whether that is two or more spaghetti together, or butternut, or a mix of the two, they need one another.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional, so do a bit of research yourself. Here are a few of the resources I have used:
Okay, that should be enough to get you started.
Goddess bless and enjoy your garden,
From our @HomeCrazzyHome to yours