Kale ‘Red Russian’
Kale ‘Red Russian’ (AKA ‘Ragged Jack’ and ‘Sweet Red’)
An Heirloom Kale in the Brassica oleracea family that originated in Siberia and was brought to North America in 1885. ‘Red Russian’ is known as one of the sweetest and most tender Kales on the market. This cool season vegetable has velvety grey-green leaves that change to pink/rose/burgundy/purple as the days and nights get cold. The cold temperatures also bring out the sweetness in the leaves. The stems of ‘Red Russian’ are quite woody, so stick with eating the tender leaves.
It grows to form a loose rosette shape and can be harvested continuously, a few leaves at a time, by removing the bottom leaves while they are young and tender. Allow the top leaves to keep growing and eventually your plant will look like a 2-3 ft tree, with a woody stalk and leaves at the top. This harvesting method will provide you with a continuous supply of fresh young leaves all season.
‘Red Russian’ Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins C, A & K. It’s also a good source of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Carbohydrates, Dietary Fiber, and a plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha Linolenic acid. This attractive leafy green is delicious in soups and salads and extra tasty when made into Kale Chips.
When planting your young Kale, keep a few things in mind: To prevent disease, maintain a 4- year crop rotation, and avoid planting Brassicas in the same spot more than once every four years. Also consider companion planting with Chamomile, Dill, Mint, Rosemary, and Sage. Avoid planting next to Eggplant, Peppers, Potatoes, and Tomatoes. The acidic soil that is required for these plants to thrive can cause problems for Brassicas.
Provide fertile, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, with a Ph range of 6.0 to 7.5. Consistent moisture, without being soggy, will produce the highest quality leaves. Plant in full sun. The Sunset Western Climate Zones are “All Zones”, and it is cold hardy to 5°F, (-15°C) Because it is a Cool Season crop, it will not do well in temperatures over 80°F.
We are currently growing Kale ‘Red Russian’ in 6 pack flats. Visit our Blog at our website www.clearwatercolor.com and follow us on Instagram @clearwatercolornursery to see photos these and many other plants we are growing.