Fall gardening

Growing Kale in the Fall – A Reader’s Experience

Gardening is so easy when you keep it simple.  And that’s what TMG is all about.

It’s fun when readers write and let me know they’ve benefited from my simple methods.

Susan, a reader who lives in this area, sent the picture below and wrote:

Am cooking my first batch (of kale) tonight; will have with roasted sweet potatoes, one of my favorite combinations.  ——-

“I opened up a narrow “thread of ground “ in the mulch and planted the seeds right before a rain.  Your heavy mulching really makes a difference!!!

Thank you for sharing all you have learned!!”

Susan’s October Kale

More Details

We emailed back and forth a few times. More details were shared  that I thought might be especially helpful to those new to gardening or to simple ways of gardening.

       *To give the birds less of a chance to help themselves to the seed she planted in late evening.

        *Rain was in the  forecast for that night so the timing was perfect.

       *As her email above noted  the narrowest amount of earth (a thread of ground) was uncovered.  This was done so there would be less chance of rain washing away the seed.  

Enjoying the Flavor of Real Food 

Susan’s  son,  a trained chef,  told her that most foods get their flavor from salt, sugar, or fat.  (That is 100% correct and is especially true of processed foods.)

Foods grown nature’s way (as recommended throughout TMG) have better flavor and often need little if any additional seasoning. Susan has found that to be true and so have I.

Simple Recipe for Susan’s Kale:

I cut the mess of the greens in late afternoon today (Oct 30), soaked them in lightly salted water to get any worms to let go. <Only one leaf with a worm and eggs>.

After stripping out the stem, placed the greens in a pot with about 3 Tbsp water.  

Put the covered pot on the lowest setting and let them slowly steam.  

The 4-qt pot was “full” until they cooked down.  — Nothing added.”

Reported End Result

They were SO good.  Had a wonderful flavor.”

Kale – Cut and Come Again

Kale will grow back after cutting it.  And sometimes will make it through the winter without protection.

If protected from the cold it’s possible to get a few winter meals.

Russian Kale (a bit different from the kale Susan grew) volunteers in my garden in the fall. Grows until the cold prohibits growth, and then sits there until spring and starts growing again.

Pictures of Russian Kale in various stages are in this post.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Susan for sharing her experience with me — and thus, with all of you.

Hope you are enjoying your fall garden and that your fall crops are producing.


All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights Reserved.


  • Thank you Theresa and Susan for sharing this, I really enjoyed it and found very useful tips. I never thought of direct sowing in the evening to give birds less of a chance. I will remember that!! And by the way, congratulations Susan, your kale looks amazing!!

  • Theresa, would you do a post on what survives in your garden over the winter and also what you plant specifically in the fall to overwinter? I plant the Russian Kale in my unheated greenhouse but would love to free up some greenhouse space and just plant it in the regular garden. I’m wondering what else I don’t have to protect in the greenhouse over the winter? Thanks for all your wonderful posts! Laura Gossin

  • So glad you found it beneficial Giulia. I thought Susan brought up some interesting points.

  • So nice to see a comment from you Laura!
    And yes I will do a post (probably a letter to subscribers) about what winters over in my garden.
    Russian Kale will winter over in most cases. Protection in some form in the garden would increase the chances. I would imagine if we had some severely cold temperatures for long periods of time it would decrease out chances of having the plants make it.
    If you wanted to you could do a couple in the garden and couple in the green house. See what works best for you.
    More when I do the post/letter to subscribers.

  • I must confess I’m an eater not a cooker but pieces like this add to learning about gardening and open up new thinking about how to garden. After harvesting my cabbage family this fall, I left the remnants in the soil just to see what happens. I also had 2 cauliflower left that had not produced. We have had several freezing nights and four frosts, two light, one med. and one heavy. The cabbage family remnants look very happy but I know they won’t produce so I wonder how much they will take. The two cauliflower are producing nice heads and still growing. we’ve had some rain and maybe 50% sun but no days over 57′ so how cold does a cold weather crop accept? I seeded a few pots with cabbage, carrots, lettuce and onions just to see what would happen and they have all germinated. I protected them to 50′ and nature looked after the rest. I find gardening better than school and a lot of fun.

    Happy days to all

    Ray Kent

  • That is one happy looking bed of kale Susan! Looks like you’re set for the winter. I love kale after a frost or two, it tastes so much better. Thanks for sharing your success and thanks Theresa for sharing it with all of us.

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