Happy kale, collard and Swiss chard plants can give you a full season’s worth of delicious, nutrient-dense greens. Instead of harvesting the entire plant, as you typically would with bok choy or lettuce, you harvest only the lower leaves that branch out from the plant’s stem, leaving 3-4 “new” leaves at the top. Tolerant of light frost, these plants can usually grow into November.
Here’s a short video showing how to harvest kale. This technique works for Swiss chard and collards as well. If you have significant insect damage on your plants, you can remove most of the leaves from the plant and let it recover over a couple weeks. See this how-to video.
Kale occasionally develops a secondary stem next to the main stem. Remove this extra stem to help the plant funnel all its energy into growing big, healthy leaves.
Check out Kim’s videos on storing and cooking kale and Swiss chard.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with cooking greens, freeze them to enjoy in winter. This is a great way to maximize your harvest and save money to boot! Simply boil a large pot of water, blanch leaves in water for less than a minute, remove and dunk in ice cold water (to stop the blanching process). Remove and squeeze out any remaining water and store in an air-tight container or ziplock bag in your freezer.
Happy growing (and eating)!