People may say they grow kale because of its alleged status as a superfood, but I know the truth. People grow it because it’s impossible to kill. Attacked by aphids, gone to seed, garrotted daily by the garden hose, baked in the hottest spring on record and scarified on a regular basis by the vicious claws of visiting brush turkeys – after all that, my kale plants have felt the need for a little lie down.
However, having risen from the grave once, they won’t just won’t lay down and die. Those leaves keep right on coming, whatever I throw at them. Not great big fancy leaves, good for stuffing with, say, quinoa and chick peas. More the slightly stunted, hard living leaves you might expect to be produced by the once-definitive vegetable of a country famous for its disdain for vegetables. In dark and gloomy pre-industrial Scotland, kale was such a staple that the veggie patch was called a “kailyard”. and by extension, the evening meal, “kail”. Any green that can crush the neep in the death-match for vegetable supremacy on the Scots dinner plate is not to be trifled with (boom boom).
In the light of this backstory, I’m starting to wonder about the untimely demise of my tatties. The flea beetles are in the frame for the execution of my potatoes, but all the while, the kale lay nearby… unnoticed… waiting… Could it be that my zombie kale has vengefully fed on the life-spirit of the blighted potato, colonial pretender to the Scottish vegetable crown?