In an era of kale addiction, some Brooklynites have taken to planting their own crops. Take Ft. Greene’s Yuko Uchikawa, the principal of OpenTalk and co-founder of Ruckus Safety Awareness, whose beautiful backyard brownstone garden teams with “the right amount of kale.”
In past years, Uchikawa and her partner have been overrun by the plants. “We grow Lacinato (Dinosaur kale) and Russian kale (sometimes known as purple kale), which is great since the leaves are very tender and it doesn’t need much massaging,” she says. And while many plants are at their peak in August, kale only gets sweeter as the temperatures dip.
Read on for a quick tour of this end-of-summer Brooklyn brownstone kale garden… —Melisse Gelula
Photos: Yuko Uchikawa for Well+Good
Kale is a green you can harvest at different stages, because the Russian kale is soft, it can be eaten mature or you can pick them as “teenagers.”
It’s also an instant gratification crop. “Unlike tomatoes, which may not mature for 80 days, with kale, I was beginning to pick them 3 weeks after planting,” she says.
I have 2 composters (one in front, and one in the back; brown structure to the left) and I get hundreds of worms. It dramatically reduces our garbage. It is remarkable! I have videos of the worms. They are amazing.”
I used to have wash the kale plants constantly to keep them from being devoured, but now, I do it no more than twice and they’re ready to eat.
Kirby cucumbers don’t have hard seeds, grow small, and are absolutely delicious with feta cheese,” says Uchikawa.