Brassica oleracea leaves kale

Grow Dinosaur Kale-(Lacinato) & Enjoy Hearty Versatile Greens

Adding greens to your diet is easy with dinosaur kale, also known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale. It is easy to grow and versatile when cooking healthy dishes. Let’s grow this luscious green vegetable now. Here are some valuable tips for growing and eating dinosaur kale.

Tuscan kale leaves

 

Learn How to Grow Dinosaur Kale / Lacinato Kale for a boost of health

Lacinato kale also called Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan kale, is an excellent choice for a nutritious health boost. With its dark green leaves and unique texture, it is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals. It’s high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals such as calcium, iron, and potassium. It also contains powerful antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and protect your cells from damage. Adding dinosaur kale to your diet can help you meet the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables for optimal health.

This leafy green vegetable is easy to prepare – it can be steamed, sautéed, roasted, made into soups, or added raw to smoothies or salads. And what’s more, it’s also sweeter and less bitter than regular kale, making it an excellent veggie for family meals. Give it a try today!

Here are a few facts about dinosaur kale / lacinato kale, or Tuscan kale

Dinosaur (Lacinato) kale originated in Italy and has long been cultivated. It is a garden staple in the Tuscany region. It is also known as Tuscan kale or black Tuscan. Other names that refer to this vegetable are cavolo nero, Toscano, and Nero di Toscana.

Dinosaur Kale Closeup

This is a low-maintenance plant that also has the added advantage of being frost tolerant. The embossed crinkly bumpy look of the dark blue-green colored leaves resembles dinosaur skin (or so we think). This biennial leafy green reaches maturity in 2 or 3 months, reaching a height of 24″ to 36″. It grows in USDA zones 2-11 without a problem. This type of heirloom kale is generally planted in the fall or spring as the plants thrive in cooler weather. 

One of the best features of this dark green vegetable is that the leaves will retain their color and firm texture even through long cooking processes and can be easily added to stews and soups. Growing this beautiful plant is simple and well worth the trouble, as its two feet long leaves pack a punch of vitamins and healthy nutrients. 

It’s time to start growing dinosaur kale.

Now that we know how great this veggie can be for our health, it is time to start growing it. Fresh leaves are harvested with ease whenever you need them.

Now that we know how great this veggie can be for our health, it is time to plant kale. Fresh leaves are harvested with ease whenever you need them.

Propagation of dinosaur kale or lacinato kale

Dinosaur kale, also known as Lacinato kale, thrives in cooler climes. You can plant Lacinato kale in early spring or late summer. Be sure to choose a location with full sun and rich, well-draining soil. It can be propagated either through seed sowing or by taking cuttings.

For seed sowing, the seeds should first be soaked overnight in lukewarm water. They can then be planted about 1/4 inch deep in a pot filled with moist soil. The pot should be kept in a warm and sunny location until the seedlings emerge, which usually takes 7-14 days. Once the seedlings have emerged and show two or three true leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots to grow larger before being transferred to their final growing location. 

If taking cuttings, select healthy stems with plenty of leaves and several nodes on them. Cut the stem just below one of the nodes and dip it into rooting hormone powder if desired. Plant the cutting into moist soil up to the first node and keep it in indirect sunlight until new growth appears. Once established, it can then be transplanted into its final growing location.

dino kale

Pruning and maintenance of dinosaur kale

When it comes to pruning and maintenance of dinosaur kale, it is essential to keep in mind that the plant is a perennial and thus requires regular pruning and maintenance. The best time to prune is in early spring or the latter part of winter while the plant is dormant. This will help to promote new growth in the spring season.

Removing any damaged or dead leaves from the plant during this time is also essential. The plant can also be thinned out by cutting off overgrown branches and stems at the base. More drastic pruning can be done if necessary, such as removing entire branches to control their size and shape.

To keep your dinosaur kale as healthy as possible, you should fertilize it regularly with an organic fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. During the growing season, you should water your dinosaur kale deeply once per week or more often if needed. Regular weeding is essential to ensure good air circulation around the foliage, as with all plants.

Cultivars of dinosaur/ tuscan kale to select for your home garden.

There are varieties of kale that has been hybridized for home gardens, giving you a range of delicious possibilities. Although there are different cultivars, it is best to choose two or three nutritious vegetables you can grow and would like to have in your garden. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of options available. 

cavolo nero

Dinosaur Kale or Lacinato Kale Cultivar

Black Magic

This is the new, improved version of dinosaur-type kale. The long and narrow leaves are dark blue-green and have a deeply savoyed texture. The flavor profile of this kale is not like other varieties. It is milder than standard Lacinato kale’s bitterness while still having the earthy, nutty taste it is known for. This variety is cold-tolerant and is an excellent addition to your garden. The mature plant is 24–36 inches tall and spreads 12–24 inches wide, forming a palm-like growth. Mature leaves are harvested from the bottom in 65–80 days. Black Magic kale seeds are commercially available. 

Dazzling Blue 

This hybrid cultivar can withstand colder climatic conditions than other dinosaur-type kale varieties. It is a hybrid between Lacinato and Rainbow Lacinato, which in turn is a cross between the purple-colored kale, Redbor, and Lacinato. The plants grow 24-26 inches in height and 24-30 inches in its spread. The gorgeous leaves are blue-green with purple and pink midribs. Seeds of this variety are available commercially.

Lacinato

Grow ‘Lacinato,’ and you will be cultivating a piece of agrarian legacy – the origins of this strain can be traced back to the 1700s, cultivated in Thomas Jefferson’s garden at Monticello. Its recognizable flat leaves are deep blue-green with pale midribs. This cultivar develops to a height of up to 3 feet, and its foliage can extend up to 2 feet in length. Within 65-80 days, you can expect full-sized leaves ready for harvesting. Regularly produced ‘Lacinato’ seeds are available, or certified organic ‘Lacinato’ seeds are also obtainable if you prefer organic farming.

Light Requirement when growing lacinato kale 

Dinosaur kale does best in full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate some shade but will produce better yields and have more vibrant foliage with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

The best soil for dinosaur kale

Dinosaur kale prefers soil that is rich, well-draining, and slightly acidic. It should be amended with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to help retain moisture and provide the necessary nutrients for optimum growth. To ensure a good dinosaur kale crop, keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Additionally, adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plants can help maintain consistent soil temperatures and reduce weeds.

cavolo nero leaves

Watering 

Moist but not soggy is the best soil condition for Dinosaur kale. It is a relatively drought-tolerant plant that does not needto be watered frequently. It is best to thoroughly drench the soil when watering and allow it to dry out between waterings. Soggy soil is not suitable for plants. Moist soil is what works best for Dinosaur Kale. It would be best if you watered your dinosaur kale once every week or two during the growing season and less often during the cooler months. Ensure that the soil stays dry between watering, as this can cause stress on the plant, leading to poor growth and decreased yields.

Ideal Humidity and Temperature

Kale is a cold-hardy crop, meaning it can tolerate low temperatures. For optimal growth, dinosaur kale should be grown in temperatures between 55 to 75°F (13 to 24°C). Humidity levels for growing dinosaur kale should be kept at around 70%.

Fertilizers and Feeding

To ensure that dinosaur kale grows to its fullest potential, fertilizing and feeding are essential.

Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, once or twice during the growing season. Apply according to the directions on the package, as overfertilizing can damage the plant.

Feeding: Feed dinosaur kale with compost tea or liquid fish emulsion every two weeks during the growing season. Alternatively, feed with a slow-release fertilizer such as granular organic fertilizer or an all-purpose 5-5-5 fertilizer at half the recommended rate every few months.

Managing dinosaur kale Pests and Diseases

Common pests affecting dinosaur kale include aphids, caterpillars, cabbage loopers, cutworms, flea beetles, and slugs. Plant diseases that can affect dinosaur kale are black rot (caused by Xanthomonas campestris), downy mildew, and clubroot. 

Kale-diseased (2)

Pests

1. Caterpillars: Handpick caterpillars off the plants and discard them in soapy water or spray with insecticidal soap.

2. Aphids: Use a strong blast of water from a garden hose to remove aphids from the kale plants, or use insecticidal soap sprays to kill them.

3. Slugs and snails: Place boards around your kale patch to attract slugs and snails away from the plants, then collect and dispose of them each morning.

Diseases 

1. Downy mildew: Remove infected leaves immediately, avoid overwatering your plants, and make sure there is plenty of air circulation around the plants. 

2. Cercospora Leaf Spot: Avoid overhead watering, remove infected leaves immediately, and keep weeds away from the base of your plants, as they can act as hosts for the disease. 

3. Clubroot Disease: Rotate crops each season to avoid spreading this soil-borne fungus, practice good sanitation in the garden, and do not plant brassicas in areas where clubroot has been previously identified.

Harvesting and storage 

Dinosaur kale can also be harvested by cutting the plant’s bottom leaves with a sharp knife or scissors. Harvesting should take place in the morning for the best flavor and texture.

lacinato kale

The leaves will store best if kept in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Kale can keep up to five days when stored this way. It is also possible to freeze dinosaur kale for up to six months. To do this, blanch the leaves first in boiling water for one minute and then cool them quickly before freezing.

Cooking with dinosaur kale

Dinosaur kale is a nutrient-packed green leafy vegetable that is packed with flavor. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and can be used in many dishes cooked to suit any taste buds. Here are some of the many delicious dinosaur kale recipes:

1. Kale Salad: Toss together some torn dinosaur kale leaves, diced peppers, chopped red onion, and feta cheese with a simple one tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.

2. Kale Soup: Saute diced onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add diced potatoes, chicken broth, canned tomatoes, and chopped leaves of the dinosaur kale. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Serve with crusty bread or croutons.

3. Sautéed Kale: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil or butter. Add the dinosaur kale leaves and cook until they are wilted but still have a slight crunch to them (about 3-5 minutes)—season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish or top with shredded Parmesan cheese for an extra burst of flavor! 

4. Crispy Kale Chips: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). parchment paper can be used to line baking trays. Remove the thick stems from the dinosaur kale leaves and tear them into large pieces; rinse under cold water, then dry thoroughly using paper towels or a salad spinner to remove excess moisture from the leaves.

Place on baking sheets in one layer; drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with coarse salt, then toss gently using your hands to coat evenly; spread out onto prepared baking sheets again in one layer, making sure not to overcrowd them (you may need to bake in batches). Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges start to brown; remove from oven and let cool completely before serving. These can be stored in airtight boxes for about two weeks. Freezing will keep kale preserved for about six months. 

Italian for black cabbage

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: FAQ

How different is dinosaur kale from regular curly kale?

It has a richer hue and is slimmer and more delicate than curly kale, making it more adaptable—it cooks faster and requires less kneading for usage in uncooked preparations. The bitter taste is noticeably milder in dinosaur kale. 

What does It taste like?

Dino kale has a savory, nutty taste. It is not as sharply bitter as other types of kale, yet it still contains some bitterness. The kale’s sweetness helps balance the bitterness, making it palatable. Blanching the leaves helps to lessen the bitter taste. 

Is dinosaur kale easy to cook with?

Yes, dinosaur kale is relatively easy to cook. It’s good to sauté by itself, used in salads, roasted, in a casserole, and made into many other exciting dishes. 

Is dinosaur kale an ornamental plant? 

Even though this vegetable is grown mainly for food, its rich color, savoyed leaves, and resemblance to a three feet tall palm tree make this a contrasting addition to any garden bed. It looks adorable among colorful flowerbeds as kale is a dark blackish-green leafed plant. Sometimes it is referred to as palm tree kale or black kale. 

How do you eat dinosaur kale stems? 

You would eat dinosaur kale stems just like any other leafy green stem – by cutting them into thin slices and sautéing them in oil with garlic, onions, and other desired seasonings. Alternatively, you could also blanch the stems to make them more tender before adding them to a stir-fry or salad.

What is the best method of cleaning dinosaur kale? 

The best method for cleaning dinosaur kale is to rinse it in cold water. Use a vegetable brush or your fingers to remove dirt or debris, and then pat the leaves dry with a paper towel. If you plan to eat the kale raw, allow the leaves to completely air-dry before serving.

Can you cut and freeze dinosaur kale?

Any raw kale can be frozen. Whenever there is an excess of kale, it can be stored away for later use by flash freezing. The process is easy; all you have to do is to wash and blanch the leaves before freezing. Frozen kale will keep up to one year and can be used in recipes in place of fresh kale.

Does freezing kale destroy nutrients?

No, all the goodness of kale stays intact through blanching and freezing. Either blanching or freezing does not destroy vitamin K and beta carotene, which are fat-soluble nutrients. Minerals and fiber are also retained, akin to fresh kale. 

What is the best month to grow kale?

Kale can be grown at the end of the spring’s last frost this is when planting seeds outside can begin. By this time, the climate will be warmer and more welcoming for the process of germination. Seeds are sown till the end of May. If you are starting seedlings indoors, it is best to do so 4-6 weeks before the last frost date given for your area.

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