What is it ?

Asked April 25, 2017, 9:25 PM EDT

I planted this in my garden and didn't lable the row. I need to know what it is to know if it needs to cooked and when to harvest it. Can you tell from the picture what it is ? Bill

Bossier Parish Louisiana

4 Responses

Thanks for your question. Your garden appears to be a mixture of salad greens, often labeled as "mesclun" (French for mixture.) Most people eat these raw, but some, like spinach, can also be cooked. (I've seen recipes for grilled lettuce.) I've attached a photo of a chart.

They look ready to eat now, but try some and see if you like them. In general, salad greens tend to be sweeter and more tender the younger they are. As they grow, some become tough and/or bitter. And, of course, their primary purpose is to produce seeds, so they may do that ('bolt') as the weather becomes warmer.

Hope this is helpful.

Thank you again kristena.

Your knowledge is very helpful.
Last year I planted a row of what was labeled Red Russian kale. It was encredibly good when prepared like greens. This year I planted the same labeled seeds and the leaves look completely different and I don't know if they are even going to taste the same. Last years leaves were the same colored green but shaped somewhat like a silver maple leaf and this they are shaped like an arugula leaf. I am not real sure what happened. Any ideas ?

There are so many varieties of kale that it's difficult to say whether you got seeds that were switched, or whether the company is using one name for another company's 'red kale.' There are both "Russian" kale and "Siberian" kale! Here are 2 links: one to an article about several popular varieties of kale, and the second to a growing guide. I hope they provide you with some photos that will help you identify what you're growing. Whatever it's called, though, it's both healthy and easily grown.

Note that it is a biennial plant. In its first year, it produces only leaves. If you leave the roots in the ground over the winter, it will return next year and then produce leaves and flowers (and ultimately seeds). So, just cut off a few leaves to consume at a time, and you'll not only have it for 2 years, but the seeds from the variety you most enjoyed can continue creating new plants.

Hope this is helpful!