Operation kale lift is a go!

So as I try to dig my garden out of the doldrums and into spring planting, I’m running into the usual problems of time and space and weather.

But I’m also finding some surprising success stories.

This bed was almost totally harvested and left fallow for potatoes- but one surprise plant clearly was surviving and thriving. It’s some type of Siberian kale, a hitchhiker in what was supposed to be a 6-pack of purple bok choy. I’d been happily harvesting leaves here and there- but I guess I supposed it would die back when I stopped tending that bed- everything else had- but as I was pulling all the blooming choys and mustards- this stalwart (or stal-wort) seems to have remained. I’d largely forgotten about it when I dug through the weeds and found a relatively healthy plant. Alas, he still would have ended up in the compost if it wasn’t for my boyfriend’s lack of space.

Like a lot of San Franciscans he has a small apartment with a small balcony- but he still has a burning desire for vegetables, and has been growing some kale from small starts. It’s been… slow. But here is a nearly full size perennialized kale, that I don’t need anymore!

Operation Kale lift was a go!

Decent root ball- healthy white roots, strong stem…


Well ok, grey aphids are… less than ideal, but it’s a fact of life when you’re growing brassicas- and I can treat it better in my yard before hauling it over.

So I potted it up in an old plastic pot I had lying around with plenty of rich soil and a handful of neem seed meal fertilizer for both continued growth and repellant reasons… and got to treating.

This type of hose nozzle is absolutely essential to anyone who wants to grow veggies and not have to resort to the nastier types of pesticides. As you tighten the ring it pressurizes the water stream, useful for both low pressure pipes, and for blasting the bugs off of your greyphid infested plants!

Obviously there are some types of leaves that would get shredded by high pressure- lucky for me, tough Siberian kale isn’t one of them.

It was a multi week project.

After blasting the heck out of the leaves I’d wait till they dried and spray neem oil all over the areas where the bugs were. After a few days I’d check again, blast the remaining bugs, let dry, spray, etc.

After a couple of weeks of this I wasn’t finding anymore greyphids, so off to his new home he went!

And that should have been the end of it! Boyfriend get’s a good kale on his little balcony, I’m not composting a perfectly healthy vegetable for the sake of space- it’s better for him, it’s better for me, it’s better for the whales kale!

Alas, I have been informed that a few days after my triumphant kale drop off… some greyphids have been spotted on the plant.

So now we’re onto part 2 of the kale saga- and it’s 100% my boyfriend’s idea- Operation balcony ladybugs.

No way that can go wrong! There are so many ways that can go wrong.

Stay tuned!


3 thoughts on “Operation kale lift is a go!

  1. Well, at least they are easy and resilient. . . the kale I mean. Hey, I got some that I should take better care of, now that I think of it. It was sample seed that I just put out there because I did not know what to do with it. I am none too keen on kale otherwise. It was pretty good, and some are still out there. They are no good until next autumn, but hey, I could keep them alive until then.

      1. They are only there because I did not pull them out last year. I do not like kale, but I do like the reliability; and they are better than some of the wild greens.

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