Tuscan Kale: A Must-Grow Vegetable

Dec 14, 2018 | Love This!

Name:  Brassica oleracea ‘Lacinato’ aka Tuscan Kale

Type of Plant: This vegetable is one of the easiest to grow and longest producing plants in the garden.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: I picked kale from the garden this week, in mid-December. I’m frequently harvesting leaves from this plant in January. It sails through frosts and below-20 degree nights.

When you grow this type of kale you can continually harvest the lower leaves from early in the summer through the fall and into the winter. Starting in mid-December, cut off the top, newer foliage for a wonderful fresh winter meal.

Tuscan kale is easy to grow from seed, whether you start them inside or plant the seeds directly into the ground.

A Word to the Wise: Start some plants inside in April or early May, and transplant them to the garden in late May. Then plant seeds directly in the garden anytime between early June and mid-August. Thin plants early in the season by pulling the entire plants and eating them in salads. Leave some so that they are spaced about one foot apart and harvest only the lower leaves on those plants.

Early in the summer the kale plants look like this. Harvest the lower leaves so that the plants will continue to grow taller and keep producing. In this photo you can clearly see the places where I’ve cut leaves on the plant in the front on the left. 

Since kale grows taller than other plants it works well when planted near lettuce or chard. You can underplant Tuscan Kale with salad greens very successfully.

I picked these kale leaves in mid-December. I’ll be harvesting the tops of other plants from now into January. (Note: when you cook with these or put them in salad, cut out the center rib first. Then chop the remaining leaves.)


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